Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Insulin Resistance - Topic Overview

Insulin resistance refers to the inability of the body tissues to respond properly to insulin. Insulin lets sugar (glucose) enter body cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin also helps muscles, fat, and liver cells store sugar to be released when it is needed. If the body tissues do not respond properly to insulin, the blood sugar level rises.

Insulin resistance causes the pancreas to release too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia). It may also cause the liver to release too much sugar into the blood.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Trend Report: High-Tech Glucose Monitoring

If you got a free glucometer from your doctor, you may not have thought to check out your other options. But these days, you have a lot of exciting new choices -- not just glucometers, but other devices, apps, and web sites. These make glucose monitoring simpler, more effective, and a lot more convenient.

Read the Trend Report: High-Tech Glucose Monitoring article > >

Several things may increase insulin resistance, including:

  • Family history. Insulin resistance may run in families.
  • Being overweight. The more a person weighs, the more insulin his or her pancreas makes and the less the person's body cells respond to insulin. People who are overweight mostly in the upper body have greater insulin resistance and have the greatest risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Lack of exercise. People who get little or no exercise often have much greater insulin resistance than people who exercise on a regular basis.
  • Age. Teens and older adults usually have greater insulin resistance. Teens have greater insulin resistance because of growth hormones.
  • Pregnancy. In the last 3 to 4 months of pregnancy (third trimester), insulin resistance is increased. A woman who did not have diabetes before pregnancy can develop a type called gestational diabetes.
  • Some medicines such glucocorticoids (for example, prednisone) can reduce the body's response to insulin.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1
Next Article:

Insulin Resistance Topics

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
kenneth fujioka, md
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Article
 
Middle aged person
Tool
jennie brand miller
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
feet
Slideshow