Insulin Resistance: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Insulin resistance means that the body cannot use insulin properly. Insulin lets sugar (glucose) enter the body's cells, where it is used for energy. It also helps muscles, fat, and liver cells store sugar to be released when needed. If the body tissues do not respond properly to insulin, the blood sugar level rises.

Insulin resistance mainly is caused by obesity, although other medical conditions, such as acromegaly and Cushing's syndrome, also can cause it. It can run in families too.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Eat a good diet that spreads carbohydrate throughout the day.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Exercise helps control your blood sugar. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Try to lose weight. Losing even a small amount of weight can help.
  • Do not smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 if you have think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have symptoms of a heart attack. These may include:
    • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
    • Sweating.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms.
    • Light-headedness or sudden weakness.
    • A fast or irregular heartbeat.

After calling 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have any symptoms of diabetes. These may include:
    • Being thirsty more often.
    • Urinating more.
    • Being hungrier.
    • Losing weight.
    • Being very tired.
    • Having blurry vision.
  • You have a wound that will not heal.
  • You have an infection that will not go away.
  • You have problems with your blood pressure.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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