Centres of Excellence -> Endocrinology and Diabetes -> Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance

In order for blood sugar to fulfill its task, i.e. to successfully feed our body, it is helped by the hormone insulin, which is produced in the ß-cells of the pancreas. Insulin activates a specific transport mechanism by which sugar molecules enter all our organs, tissues and cells without interruption from the blood and participate in metabolic processes. If this effect mediated by insulin does not function adequately, i.e. our body shows resistance to insulin action, we speak of insulin resistance. The body tries to correct the resulting condition by producing a large amount of insulin (hyperinsulinemia), which leads to unpleasant symptoms such as hunger, weakness, restlessness and tremors which are further aggravated by taking a meal rich in sugars.

Patients often feel tired (especially after meals), get hungry quickly and have an increased desire for sweets. Chronically high levels of insulin lead to weight gain and obesity, polycystic ovary disease, the development of type 2 diabetes, menstrual cycle disorders, lower chances of conception and there is also a connection with the development of autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto's disease. It has been proven that fatt tissue (especially the form of fatt tissue deposited on the abdomen) has the function of an endocrine gland, since it secretes hormones such as leptin and resistin and a number of signaling molecules called cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α) that interfere with sugar metabolism and increase the resistance of peripheral tissues to insulin. The presence of elevated levels of free fatt acids in the blood also potentiates insulin resistance. On the genomic side, more than 40 point mutations of genes involved in various aspects of fatty acid metabolism, development and function of pancreatic ß-cells and transport mechanisms within them have been proven.

Diagnosis and treatment of insulin resistance

The diagnosis of insulin resistance includes a specialist examination, laboratory and genetic tests and various instrumental procedures according to indications. Treatment is based on changing eating habits, increasing physical activity and medication treatment of the underlying and accompanying disorders.

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