What Is the Main Cause of Insulin Resistance?

Reviewed on 2/25/2022
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The main causes of insulin resistance include obesity, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women, and physical inactivity.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that works in the body to help regulate blood sugar, control metabolism, and regulate cellular growth. 

Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. The result is that the body needs higher levels of insulin to function properly.

The pancreas tries to offset this need by producing more insulin until it can no longer produce what the body needs and blood sugar levels rise. This increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Three Main Causes of Insulin Resistance

  • Obesity, especially excess fat in the abdomen and around the organs (visceral fat), a main cause of insulin resistance.
  • A waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women is linked to insulin resistance. 
  • Physical inactivity is another main cause of insulin resistance. 

Other causes of insulin resistance include: 

Risk factors for developing insulin resistance include:

What Are Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance often causes no symptoms.

Signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) that may indicate possible insulin resistance include: 

What Is the Treatment for Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is treated with lifestyle changes and medications. 

Lifestyle changes to treat insulin resistance include:

Medications used to treat insulin resistance include:

Reviewed on 2/25/2022
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