The very mention of diabetes can strike fear in the heart of the bravest. It is known to adversely affect several organs in the body like the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and many more. If not diagnosed on time and treated, it can lead to several complications. You may have read plenty of blogs on how you can manage diabetes or about the measures you can adopt to prevent the onset of this disorder. But are you aware there is a test that can predict your chances of developing diabetes? It’s called the HOMA-IR (Homeostatic Model Assessment of insulin resistance) test. This test can help you in preventing diabetes.

Besides HOMA-IR, there are several other diagnostic tests that are used for testing for diabetes. Get in touch with your doctor to find out which test you should opt for and how to prepare yourself for it. Remember, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier and more effective the treatment procedures are going to be

What is Diabetes all about?

To understand how HOMA IR may help you, you have to understand a thing or two about diabetes.

Diabetes is of two types – Type 1 (your body produces less insulin) and type 2 (associated with insulin resistance or less insulin production). Read more about the difference between type 1 & type 2 diabetes.  

Glucose or as it is more commonly known, blood sugar provides energy to the cells of our body. It acts as fuel, driving our cells, tissues, muscles and organs to perform their respective tasks. Our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin sends signals to your cells to pick up glucose from your bloodstream. But sometimes, your cells defy the signals that insulin sends and refuse to absorb sugar from the blood. This is a case of insulin resistance. And when this happens, the sugar level in your blood begins to soar. So, we can say that insulin resistance is the precursor to diabetes.  

What is HOMA-IR?

Insulin resistance not only paves the way for type 2 diabetes but also other diseases like hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

Strangely enough, people with normal levels of blood sugar may be insulin resistant. And this is exactly where HOMA IR can help. This test measures how resistant your cells are to insulin. Insulin resistance, even if the sugar content in your blood is within acceptable levels, hints that there is a possibility that your blood sugar might spike in the future. This is how the HOMA-IR goes a step further than a normal blood sugar test, which can only monitor your sugar level and would not be able to detect if anything is wrong until high blood sugar sets in.    

HOMA IR, on the other hand, will ring the warning bells as soon as it registers even the slightest resistance to insulin in the pre-diabetes stage so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent a full-blown attack of diabetes.

HOMA-IR Scale  

Your results from the HOMA-IR test are displayed against a scale or range that determines the level of your insulin resistance. Low HOMA-IR implies you are sensitive to insulin and higher levels indicate insulin resistance and higher chances of you developing diabetes mellitus.  

Ways to decrease your HOMA-IR scale

To properly be able to tackle decreasing insulin resistance, it is necessary to bring about changes in lifestyle and habits. There are two ways in which this could be achieved:

  • Dietary changes- Reducing calorie and processed carbohydrates and increasing fibre intake.
  • Lifestyle changes- Plenty of exercise and activity while avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity.

What should you do if you are Insulin Resistant?

You should consult a doctor who will advise you on appropriate lifestyle modification or prescribe the appropriate medication. You will also have to go on a special diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, eggs, soy products, etc. Seek a dietician’s help to draw up a diet chart and don’t forget to exercise regularly. Workout is known to decrease insulin resistance. Get at least 7-hours of sleep.