Symptoms and Signs of Insulin Resistance

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells found in the pancreas that has many actions within the body including those involved in metabolism of carbohydrates (sugars and starches), lipids (fats), and proteins. When insulin resistance develops, tissues in the body – particularly muscle and fat tissues- do not respond appropriately to insulin and more insulin is needed to elicit the same response from these tissues. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to continue to exert its physiologic effect.

Insulin resistance is associated with many medical conditions that can cause a wide variety of symptoms including metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, arteriosclerosis (which can cause coronary artery disease [angina and heart attack], strokes, and peripheral vascular disease), skin lesions, reproductive abnormalities in women, hyperandrogenism, and growth abnormalities.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.