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Insulin Resistance


Updated November 08, 2006

Definition: An insensitivity of the cells to the effects of insulin. Since one of the "jobs" of insulin is to "open the gates" so that the cells will take in glucose (either using it or converting it to storage), blood glucose will stay higher than is healthy unless the body releases more insulin, creating a condition called hyperinsulinemia ("too much insulin in the blood"). High insulin, in turn, can lead to other problems, including weight gain, because high insulin levels tend to facilitate the storage of fat, and makes it more difficult for the body to access fat for energy.

It is estimated that 20-30 percent of the US population is insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is part of the constellation of symptoms called metabolic syndrome, and is considered to be a precursor to Type 2 diabetes (in fact, some doctors give an insulin-resistant person a diagnosis of diabetes, albeit in an early stage). Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

More Information about Insulin Resistance
Pronunciation: IN se lin ree SIS tents
Also Known As: pre-diabetes, insulin insensitivity
Common Misspellings: inselin resistence insolin
According to some studies, people who are insulin resistant respond most positively to a controlled-carbohydrate diet.
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