Insulin Resistance Testing | Results | Signals | Precaution

Medically Reviewed By DR. RAKESH SOOD April 22, 2024

Insulin resistance is a severe medical state that affects how your body uses and responds to the hormone insulin. When you’re insulin resistant, your cells have trouble absorbing and using glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream. If left unchecked, insulin resistance can progress to type 2 diabetes, a chronic and potentially life-threatening disease.

Fortunately, there are ways to test for and monitor insulin resistance. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of insulin resistance testing – what it is, who should get tested, what the test measures, and how much it typically costs. Armed with this information, you can take the first step toward understanding your metabolic health and taking control of your insulin resistance. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this important health screening.

About Insulin Test Levels

Insulin resistance testing is a blood test that measures the amount of insulin in your blood and estimates insulin resistance levels and insulin production by beta cells. Insulin resistance is calculated using insulin and blood glucose tests. The test goes by many names, such as insulin sensitivity test, homa IR test, insulin tolerance test, insulin level test, etc., so don’t get confused. Insulin sensitivity testing also helps in the diagnosis of insulinoma and monitoring the success of islet cell transplantation.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body depletes its sensitivity to the insulin hormone. This condition disturbs the process of transferring glucose from the blood to body cells like muscles, fat cells, and organ cells. This underutilisation of insulin results in elevated blood glucose and even hyperglycemia.

Often, this test is prescribed along with blood sugar tests (fasting and postprandial), glucose tolerance tests, and C-peptide tests. In this case, a specified time interval is maintained between blood sugar and fasting insulin tests.

Read More: 15 Ways To Lower Your Insulin Levels Naturally

How can I calculate insulin resistance?

The Homa IR or Homeostatic model assessment for IR(insulin resistance) test calculates insulin resistance, taking into consideration values of insulin fasting and blood sugar tests. A formula calculates insulin resistance in which the product of blood sugar and fasting insulin is divided by a constant value. Insulin Resistance calculation formula:

Fasting glucose in mg/dL x Fasting insulin in mU/L / 405

If the final calculated value of this formula is greater than 2, it indicates insulin resistance.

Normal Levels of Serum Insulin Test

A serum insulin test or fasting insulin test is done after 8-9 hours of fasting. According to the Yashoda Hospitals website, insulin levels in the body after 8 hours of fasting should be less than 25 mIU/L. Insulin test levels 30 minutes after glucose intake should be between 30-230 mIU/L. The following table below depicts normal insulin tests:

State Normal Insulin Levels
Fasting Insulin Less than 25 mIU/L
Normal Insulin level after 30 mins of glucose intake 30-230 mIU/L
Normal Insulin level after 1 hour of glucose intake 8-276 mIU/L
Normal Insulin level after 2 hours of glucose intake 16-166 mIU/L
Normal Insulin level after 3 or more hours of glucose intake Less than 25 mIU/L

In general, normal individuals’ insulin levels remain in proportion with glucose levels in the body.

Read More: Insulin Resistance Diet: What to Eat & What to Avoid

When should you go for an Insulin Level Test?

When should you go for an Insulin Level Test?

Insulin resistance can develop slowly over time, often without any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. That’s why it’s recommended that certain groups of people get screened for insulin resistance, even if they aren’t experiencing any obvious health problems.

Following are the high-risk individuals who are more likely to do a homa insulin resistance test:

  • You are overweight or obese. Extra body fat, especially around the abdomen, is a major risk factor for insulin resistance.
  • You have a family history of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance often runs in families.
  • You have high BP(blood pressure) or abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions are closely linked to insulin resistance.
  • You have PCOS(polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS is strongly associated with insulin resistance in women.
  • You are over the age of 45. The risk of insulin resistance increases as you get older.

There are also symptoms that indicate hyperglycemia, and such individuals should go for insulin resistance testing. The symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Tiredness
  • Blurriness in vision
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety and palpitation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure (in extreme cases)

The insulin sensitivity test is also done by diabetic and prediabetic patients, PCOS patients, heart patients, etc.

Read More: Top 10 Natural Remedies For Diabetes?

How can you do an Insulin Intolerance Test?

The insulin intolerance test or homa IR test is prescribed by the doctor when there are the above symptoms and fluctuations in glucose levels. As said earlier, an insulin level test is a blood test. So, your blood sample is to be collected, and for that, you should go for an insulin resistance lab test. You can visit a reputed pathology lab in your city.

Insulin Resistance Test at Home

Insulin resistance home tests can also be done. However, for that, a path lab staff or collection agent has to visit your home to take your blood sample. Check with the path lab about the home sample collection at your location.

Insulin Fasting Test Price

Homa IR test price ranges between 900 to 1300 INR. The test is more expensive in metro cities than in other places. Further, the insulin resistance test at home may even cost you more.

Read More: 15 Foods To Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Precautions to take for Insulin Level Test

When preparing for an insulin resistance test, there are a few important precautions to keep in mind:

Fasting: The fasting insulin test requires you to fast for 8-9 hours prior to the test. This means you cannot eat or drink anything except water during that time. Therefore, many doctors recommend this test early in the morning, just after you wake up.

Medications: Certain medications can affect insulin and glucose levels, potentially skewing the results of an insulin resistance test. Be sure to inform your doctor about any medications or herbal medicines you are currently taking. They may advise you to stop or adjust your dosage temporarily before the test.

Timing: The timing of your insulin resistance test is important. Tests are usually scheduled first thing in the morning, as insulin and glucose levels can fluctuate throughout the day. Try to schedule your appointment as early as possible, before you’ve eaten or taken any medications.

Hydration: Even though you need to fast, it’s important to ensure hydration by drinking water in the days leading up to the test. Dehydration can impact your results.

Exercise: Avoid strenuous exercise for 24-48 hours prior to your insulin resistance test, as physical activity can influence insulin and glucose levels.

By following these precautions, you can help ensure that your insulin resistance test results are as accurate and reliable as possible. This will allow you and your doctor to make the best decisions about your further treatment plan.

Read More: Connections Between Diabetes and Hypertension.

Results of Insulin Resistance Testing

Results of Insulin Resistance Testing

The results of the Homa IR test typically take around one to three days, depending on the lab and the place you live. The doctor will evaluate the results and suggest the course of action required. In general, high insulin test levels indicate any or multiple disorders like:

  • Cushing syndrome
  • Acromegaly
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Galactose intolerance
  • Insulinomas
  • Drug usage like levodopa, oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, etc.
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome, etc.

On the contrary, decreased insulin levels can indicate any or multiple disorders like:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Hypopituitarism, etc.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Question) 

What is the normal range for insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is calculated with the help of values of your fasting insulin test and blood sugar tests. If the Homa IR test’s final value after calculation is greater than 2, it indicates insulin resistance. The higher the value, the greater the level of insulin resistance

Can I reverse insulin resistance?

Yes, absolutely, you can reverse insulin resistance by adopting lifestyle changes. The changes include following a healthy eating plan and engaging in strength-building workouts. For detailed knowledge, you can join Breathe Well-being, where we have a team of health experts who can guide you in this regard.

What is the HbA1c level for insulin resistance?

According to research published by the National Institute of Health, having HbA1c levels of more than 5.9% has been associated with insulin production and absorption problems in many individuals. However, there is no close correlation between HbA1c and insulin.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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