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What causes insulin resistance?

There are several causes for insulin resistance, and genetic factors (inherited component) are usually significant. Some medications can contribute to insulin resistance. In addition, insulin resistance is often seen with the following conditions:

  • The metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions involving excess weight (particularly around the waist), high blood pressure, and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Infection or severe illness
  • Stress
  • Inactivity and excess weight
  • During steroid use

Other causes of or factors that may worsen insulin resistance can include:

  • Taking certain medications
  • Older age
  • Sleep problems (especially sleep apnea)
  • Cigarette smoking
Return to Insulin Resistance

See what others are saying

Comment from: Trish, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I was diagnosed with low blood sugar at 23, I am now 54. I have yogi dieted all my life. Weighing anywhere from 145 to my current 205. When I lost weight the dieting had to be extreme. My symptoms occur immediately after I eat. They include light headedness, nausea, fatigue and foggy thinking. I have multiple myeloma cancer and am currently on chemotherapy and 20 ml of dexamethasone, a steroid, once a week. For the last 5 days I have experienced these symptoms to the degree I have been in bed for several days. My glucose was 90 but has been in the 60s before. My oncologist does not think it"s a blood sugar problem. He did not give me my chemotherapy yesterday as I was feeling so bad.

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Comment from: Jan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

Prolonged stress caused adrenaline, cortisone and insulin levels to increase in my body. I have felt drowsy, sleepy, lethargic and also flighty, on edge and aggressive. My heart rate is inappropriately high and I now have to use a beta blocker to slow my heart rate down. I am using medication for the condition and have to look at life style too.

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