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Mastering Metabolism: Tackle Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes, and Insulin Resistance with Functional and Integrative Medicine


Reviewed by Kyler Elwell Silver, MD of Forum Health Las Colinas 

How disruptions in the body’s metabolism negatively affect overall health, learn the signs and treatment options. 

In today’s world, chronic health conditions like diabetes, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance are becoming increasingly prevalent and can significantly impact your quality of life and overall health if left unmanaged.  


With the rise of functional and integrative medicine, there is new hope for overcoming these conditions with a comprehensive and personalized approach. 

Metabolic Disorders: What are They and the Top Risk Factors

Prediabetes can be diagnosed through blood tests that measure your blood sugar levels. The most common tests used to diagnose prediabetes are: 


  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test: a 24-hour fasted blood sugar test, with blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dL considered prediabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): measures your blood sugar level before and two hours after you drink a sugary solution. A blood sugar level between 140 and 199 mg/dL two hours after drinking the solution indicates prediabetes. 

  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test: measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. An HbA1c level between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered prediabetes. 


It’s important to note that different tests may be used by healthcare providers, and the criteria for diagnosing prediabetes may vary. Early detection and lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay the progression to type 2 diabetes. 


Insulin resistance is a condition where your body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels, and often a precursor to type 2 diabetes.  


Important factors to consider with insulin resistance include:  


  • High blood sugar: Insulin resistance leads to high blood sugar levels, which can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. 

  • Increased risk of heart disease: Insulin resistance is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. 

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS, a hormonal disorder that can affect women’s reproductive health. 

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.  


These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 


Being diagnosed with multiple metabolic disorders also impacts your health and puts you at risk for other conditions including:  

  • Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems 
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Fatty liver disease 
  • Sleep apnea 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes glucose (sugar), leading to high blood sugar levels.  


There are two main types of diabetes: type 1, which is usually diagnosed in childhood and is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin, and type 2, which is more common and is often linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. 


Prediabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome may all be precursors to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. 


Diabetes has several effects on your overall health and can lead to other, more serious conditions, such as:  


  • High blood sugar levels: Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to a variety of complications. 

  • Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy): Diabetes can cause nerve damage, leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet. 

  • Kidney damage (nephropathy): High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys, leading to kidney failure. 

  • Eye damage (retinopathy): Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision problems and even blindness. 

  • Foot damage: Nerve damage and poor blood flow can lead to foot problems, including infections and ulcers that can result in amputation. 

Overall, these conditions can significantly impact your quality of life and increase the risk of serious health complications. Proper management, including lifestyle changes and medical treatment, is crucial for reducing the risk of complications and improving overall health outcomes.  


Further understanding your risk factors for developing a metabolic disorder can empower you to prevent development of one or more conditions.  

10 factors that can increase the risk of developing prediabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes:

  1. Family history: Having a family history of diabetes or metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing these conditions.  


  2. Obesity: Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  


  3. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for developing these conditions.  


  4. Unhealthy Diet: A diet high in processed foods, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats can increase the risk of developing these conditions.


  5. Age: The risk of developing diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome increases with age, especially around 45. However, more young people are being diagnosed as sedentary lifestyles increase.


  6. Ethnicity: Certain racial and ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, have a higher risk of developing these conditions.
  7. Gestational Diabetes: Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Women with gestational diabetes are typically diagnosed during pregnancy, usually between the 24th and 28th weeks.


  8. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Due to the imbalance in hormones, women with PCOS are at an increased risk of insulin resistance and developing type 2 diabetes.


  9. Sleep Disorders: Conditions such as sleep apnea can increase the risk of developing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.


  10. Other Health Conditions: Certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can increase the risk of developing these conditions.   


It’s important to note that while these factors can increase the risk of developing a metabolic disorder, they do not guarantee you will develop these conditions.  


Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a balanced diet, can help reduce the risk of developing these conditions. 


Regular screening and monitoring are also important for early detection and management. Schedule a metabolic health screening with your Forum Health provider, here.  

How Functional and Integrative Medicine Interventions can Improve Metabolic Conditions

Functional and integrative medicine takes a holistic approach to health, focusing on addressing the root causes of disease rather than just treating symptoms. These approaches combine the best of conventional medicine with complementary therapies to create personalized treatment plans for each patient. 


One of the key principles of functional and integrative medicine is that each person is unique, and their treatment should reflect that.  


Our Forum Health providers take the time to understand your health history, lifestyle factors, and genetic makeup to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses your specific needs. 


Functional and integrative medicine offers a range of benefits to improve metabolic disorder conditions:  


  1. Nutritional Support: Our functional and integrative medicine practitioners together with nutritionists and health coaches, emphasize the importance of a healthy diet in managing these conditions. They may recommend a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, and lean proteins, while limiting refined sugars and carbohydrates. 

  2. Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress management, and sleep can play a significant role in managing these conditions. We will work with you to develop a personalized plan that addresses the factors that apply to you. 

  3. Supplements and Nutraceuticals: In addition to traditional medications, our providers may recommend supplements and nutraceuticals to support overall health and manage symptoms. Adding back in the essential vitamins and minerals your body is craving! 
  4. Comprehensive Testing: Our providers use advanced testing methods to assess your overall health and identify underlying issues that may be contributing to your condition. 


Metabolic disorders are complex conditions that require personalized and comprehensive approaches to management. With symptoms that may go unnoticed for years until you get testing, it’s never too late to improve your metabolic health.  


At Forum Health, our functional and integrative medicine approach focuses on addressing the root causes of these conditions and improving overall health and well-being. By combining the best of conventional medicine with complementary therapies, we can help you navigate these conditions to live a healthier, more vibrant life! 

Take control of your metabolic health today and schedule a discovery call with one of our health advisors, here.