What is Insulin Resistance and how it is Connected to Skin Conditions?

March 16,2021


What is Insulin Resistance and its Connection to Skin Conditions?

Insulin is a polypeptide hormone which is formed by ő≤ cells of the exocrine gland and controls sugar concentration in blood. High blood sugar concentrations arouse the secretion of insulin, that transfers glucose from the blood into muscle, fat and liver cells. This helps the storage of glucose for the body upcoming energy needs, and in healthy people, this mechanism keeps the body at average glucose concentrations.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance refers to a subnormal glucose response to a specific concentration of insulin.

¬∑         When there's resistance to internally produced insulin, blood sugar concentrations may be normal or high, whereas serum insulin concentrations are always high.

¬∑         Insulin-dependent diabetic patients have resistance to externally received insulin. They need higher insulin doses that help to manage high blood glucose.

The natural development of insulin resistance involves hyper insulinaemia after meals and is later followed by fasting hyper insulinaemia. The failure of mechanism to keep up euglycemia (average glucose concentrations) resulting to hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose), impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.

Who gets insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is found in both men and women irrespective to any race and ethnicity. It’s particularly prevalent to people who lead an inactive lifestyle.

Causes of insulin resistance

Insulin resistance may occur due to a combination of genetic, non-genetic and environmental factors.

Inherited conditions

Insulin resistance could be the result of inherited metabolic disorder. It includes:

¬∑         Insulin receptor mutations

¬∑         Type A syndrome of insulin resistance

¬∑         Type B syndrome of insulin resistance

¬∑         Decreased adiponectin and leptin.

Secondary insulin resistance

The majority of patients have secondary insulin resistance. 

¬∑         Obesity (about 70-80% of patients)

¬∑         Stress

¬∑         Infection

¬∑         Kidney disease

¬∑         Pregnancy

¬∑         Starvation

¬∑         Excess endogenous or exogenous hormones

¬∑         Liver cirrhosis

¬∑         Ketoacidosis

Dermatological symptoms of insulin resistance

The skin condition occurred due to insulin resistance helps to diagnose the condition and its related complications. The symptoms of insulin resistance can include:

¬∑         Acanthosis nigricans

¬∑         Acrochordons (skin tags)

¬∑         Hirsutism (excessive growth of dark hair in women)

¬∑         Androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss)

¬∑         Acne

Skin disorders that have been associated with insulin resistance include:

¬∑         Psoriasis

¬∑         Vitiligo

¬∑         Hidradenitis suppurativa.


Complications of insulin resistance

Insulin Resistance is the underlying cause of Acanthosis nigricans and you need to consult with your dermatologist to treat the condition.

The long-term complications of insulin resistance may include peripheral vascular disease, kidney disease, and visual complications) and its severe complications include colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. The hyper glycaemia, hyper insulinaemia, and release of adipocyte cytokines lead to vascular endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, and vascular inflammation.

Diagnosis & Treatment of insulin resistance

There is no confirmed test to examine insulin resistance in clinical practice. Euglycemic insulin clamp technique is considered the best technique for diagnosis of insulin resistance, but it is invasive and expensive, and hardly used in clinical practice.

Blood tests are conducted to diagnose the condition. It helps to reveal Elevated serum triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio and Elevated fasting insulin concentration.

The insulin resistance can be reduced through increased physical activity, weight reduction and follow healthy diet. For treatment of insulin resistance, you are advised to consult with your doctor.


Tags :

SkinDark patchesAcanthosis nigricans

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