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What is Hyperinsulinemia?

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Hyperinsulinemia describes an increased level of insulin in the blood. The condition is associated with glucose intolerance, obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia, factors that are collectively referred to as the metabolic syndrome.

Hyperinsulinemia is distinct from both diabetes or hyperglycemia, but it occurs as a result of early stage diabetes, which may progress to diabetes if it is not treated properly.

Hyperinsulinemia leads to several conditions and these are described below.

  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
  • Diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar that fluctuates between a low and high level
  • Increased risk of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Increased production of very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs), referred to as hypertriglyceridemia.
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease – the high insulin level damages the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Weight gain and lethargy

Causes

Insulin resistance is the primary cause of hyperinsulinemia. When a person has insulin resistance, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin. This may lead to type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar level adequately. In rare cases, a pancreatic tumor can cause hyperinsulinemia. A condition called nesidioblastosis, where there is an excess of the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas can also lead to hyperinsulinemia.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2015

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Comments
  1. constanza constanza constanza constanza Argentina says:

    Hola,en mi apinion creo que esta pesimo que una pagina como esta ponga que la hieperinsulinemia es tambien conocida como pre-diabetes,ya que eso es mentira!,la hiperinsulinemia se debe a muchos factores que a veces no se relacionan ni por cerca a una pre-diabetes

  2. Gary Turner Gary Turner United States says:

    Hyperinsulinemia is best treated by removing the foods from your diet that cause an insulin spike and replace them with high quality fats. Remove all sugars, fruit juices, pop, and starches and all liquid vegetable and seed oils, especially hydrogenated versions. Replace these foods with olives, avocados, coconuts, and their oils. Also raw tree nuts, fish and fish oils. Get adequate protein and eat lots of on starchy raw vegetables.

    • Dale Just-Dale Dale Just-Dale United States says:

      This is good advice for those who have a genetic predisposition for diabetes.   Unfortunately, eating a healthy diet does little to change your genetic makeup.   An extremely strict diet will keep your weight down, exercise will increase your insulin sensitivity.  The latest research on metabolic memory however indicates that extremely aggressive treatment of this condition makes a huge difference down the road.  Unfortunately for most, when this is discovered, they have already had over an 80% reduction of their beta-cell mass, leading to elevated glucagon levels and increased liver production of glucose from glycogen.   Strict diet tremendously helps, but you cannot get your beta cells back (for the most part).   People who discover this early, and treat aggressively with diet, exercise and treatment with insulin-sensitizing medication can have a normal life-span. (See research on metabolic memory)

  3. Gary Turner Gary Turner United States says:

    Eat lots of non starchy vegetables

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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