Taking A Closer Look At Insulin Resistance Syndrome

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By Chih Yen

Exploring The Link Between Obesity And Insulin Resistance
Heredity alone accounts for a small percentage of type 2 diabetes in our population. The majority of patients have a combination of environmental factors. Several of these factors (obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet and age) have been directly associated with insulin resistance syndrome.
Obesity is one of the fastest growing problems in this country today. According to a 2000 article in Diabetes Care, a comparison of average population weights between 1990 and 1998 revealed that the average man and woman had gained 4.3 lbs. and 3.9 lbs. respectively. Obesity-associated insulin resistance is thought to be mediated by circulating free fatty acids whose clearance is reduced in people with type 2 diabetes.
There is plenty of literature supporting the link between obesity and insulin resistance. Steinberger et. al., concluded that adiposity in childhood was a predictive factor of obesity and insulin resistance in young adulthood. Their study also demonstrated that cardiovascular risk in young adulthood is highly correlated to the degree of adiposity.6
A fat rich-diet has been linked to insulin resistance syndrome. Park et. al., studied the relation between a chronic high fat diet and the incidence of insulin resistance syndrome — independent of obesity.7 They put 40 lab rats on a chronic high fat diet. They determined that visceral obesity is associated with insulin resistance. On the other hand, increased intake of complex carbohydrates, such as dietary fiber, appear to improve insulin action.8
The clinically apparent affects of insulin resistance syndrome include obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia.9
Numerous studies have shown that insulin resistance syndrome correlates to an increased risk for developing cardiovascular complications.10-11 Stoney et. al., showed that insulin resistance is associated with dyslipidemia, which indeed increased the risk for coronary artery disease in women with type 2 diabetes.12 In addition, there is strong support in the literature that insulin resistance syndrome is a risk factor for heart disease in elderly men who have type 2 diabetes.13

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