By Clint Confehr
TIVERTON, RI — Insulin resistance is a growing problem physicians are facing and it’s of special interest to African Americans because they’re more likely to develop diabetes.
Insulin resistance syndrome is a condition in which the tissues of the body become desensitized to insulin.
“Insulin resistance is more frequent and more severe among African-Americans, compared to non-Hispanic whites,” says Dr. Anthony Cincotta, a neuroendocrinologist who’s chief scientific officer at VeroScience here.
Furthermore, of all patients diagnosed with diabetes, “African Americans are more likely to develop serious complications,” Dr. Cincotta says to bring attention to the “diabetes epidemic” and its impact on more than 30 million Americans.
Meanwhile, research has led to discovery of a pathway in the brain with a chemical that curtails over-activation of one part of the nervous system which can resist insulin action, Cincotta said. Treating that “can reduce over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system and thereby reduce insulin resistance,” he said.
Still, diet and exercise remain the cornerstone to avoid persistent insulin resistance. “Avoiding stress … is also emerging as a strategy to reduce insulin resistance,” he said.
“Insulin sensitivity was lower among African Americans, independent of obesity, fat distribution, and inflammation,” Cincotta said. “Insulin resistance is linked with hypertension and diabetes, two conditions that occur at disproportionately high rates among African Americans.”
Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes may not present any obvious symptoms at first, but the National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 50 percent of people with these conditions may develop Type 2 Diabetes if they don’t confront it.
Cincotta’s bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology is from the University of California. His master’s and doctorate degrees in physiology are from Louisiana State University.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.