Insulin Resistance

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when the body is unable to use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas. It allows your cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy.

The body then becomes resistant to normal or even high levels of insulin or both. This causes high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious problems if untreated.

How common is insulin resistance?

It commonly affects overweight people more than those who are fit. It can affect patients at any age, especially the one with this condition run in their family. In the recent cases, a patient is only 3 years old.

It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of insulin resistance?

It usually causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, signs often include:

  • The need to urinate often
  • Intense thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Dark patches on the back of the neck, groin, and armpits (acanthosis nigricans)

Insulin resistance may also damage your blood vessels without you realizing it. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes insulin resistance?

This health condition is a complication of the treatment for type II diabetes, including the following:

  • Extreme insulin resistance syndrome
  • Impaired glucose tolerance and type II diabetes
  • Obesity, stress, infection, uremia, acromegaly, glucocorticoid excess, and pregnancy, which cause secondary insulin resistance
  • Common disorders such as the metabolic syndrome, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary arteries disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and the ovarian hyperthecosis

Risk factors

What increases my risk for insulin resistance?

There are several risk factors for insulin resistance, such as:

  • Being stressed usually
  • Having an uncontrolled overweight condition
  • Family history with members with obesity, autoimmune disease, type II diabetes

Even though insulin resistance may not make you make you feel sick, it may cause serious problems over time if it is not treated. The disorder can lead to severe consequences follow type II diabetes such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision problems (or even blindness)
  • Pain or loss of feeling in the hands and feet
  • The need to have fingers or toes, other body parts removed (amputated)

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.


How is insulin resistance diagnosed?

Resistance to exogenous insulin can be diagnosed by techniques such as:

  • Intravenous glucose tolerance test
  • Insulin suppression test
  • Euglycemic insulin clamp technique

How is insulin resistance treated?

Most patients with insulin resistance (such as those with obesity) are not treated with insulin. Using the medication to prevent and lessen insulin resistance symptoms is the main focus of the treatment.

There are a few medicines that help control blood sugar. Some people need to take medicines that help the body make more insulin during the late stage of insulin resistance or those that help insulin do its job. Others might need insulin shoot.

Sometimes people with insulin resistance resulting from type II diabetes also need medicines to reduce the symptoms caused by the disease. For instance, medicines used to lower blood pressure can reduce the chances of heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage insulin resistance?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Insulin resistance or reduce your chances of getting insulin resistance relating to type II diabetes:

  • The most important thing you can is control your weight. If you already have the disorder, losing weight can help you improve your health and blood sugar control.
  • Being active also can help prevent or control the disorder.
  • Eating right, and not smoking can all help people stay as healthy as possible.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: February 19, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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