A condition where muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin properly; the normal amount of insulin is then insufficient to manage a normal amount of blood glucose. The pancreas responds by producing more insulin. This often leads to too much insulin in the bloodstream (which can cause trouble to other organs, such as the ovaries, even as it may allow cells to process glucose sufficiently). Eventually, if insulin resistance is high enough, the pancreas cannot keep up, and excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of blood glucose and high levels of insulin in their blood at the same time.
Insulin resistance often runs in families, so it is believed to be at least partly a genetic condition. However, excess weight also plays a role because too much fat (and lack of exercise) interferes with muscles’ ability to use insulin. Insulin resistance is one of the common symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS.
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