Insulin Resistance and Kidney Disease

Have you ever been told you have prediabetes? One in three adults has prediabetes, which means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, you could develop type 2 diabetes within five years. Just having higher than normal blood sugar puts you at risk for chronic health problems, including kidney disease.

People with prediabetes are usually insulin-resistant. What does that mean exactly? Whenever we eat food, our pancreas makes insulin (a hormone) to push glucose (sugar) into our cells, where it is used for energy. If insulin doesn’t do its job to push glucose into the cells, we call it “insulin resistance.” Excess insulin can cause weight gain and/or obesity because the body stores excess glucose as body fat. Obesity increases risk for type 2 diabetes, and diabetes is linked to chronic kidney disease. Scientists aren’t completely sure what causes insulin resistance, although they have theories. We do know that a family history of diabetes, excess fat tissue in the abdomen (also known as “metabolic syndrome”) and being inactive increases the risk for insulin-resistance, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

You can prevent kidney disease by reversing prediabetes. If you are insulin resistant, there are ways to become more insulin-sensitive. First of all, try to move more! The act of moving your muscles helps insulin push glucose back into the cells by making the cell surface more sensitive to the insulin. The result? Lowered blood sugars! Secondly, if you are overweight, work hard on losing weight by eating smaller portions of a balanced diet. Talk to a doctor or dietitian to help you reach your target weight.  By improving your insulin sensitivity, you decrease your risk for chronic kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.

This information is meant to be used as a resource and is not meant to replace medical advice. For more information, contact