New Understanding of Insulin Resistance Demystifies Metabolic Syndrome

The varying impact of insulin resistance on different tissues in the human body may lead to a better understanding of metabolic syndrome.

BOSTON — APRIL 22, 2010 – The varying impact of insulin resistance on different tissues in the human body may lead to a better understanding of metabolic syndrome according to experts today at the AACE Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Boston.

Metabolic syndrome is typically defined as a cluster of conditions — excess body fat around the waist (central obesity), insulin resistance with elevated insulin levels, abnormal glucose metabolism, increased blood pressure, and/or abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The challenge for many clinicians lies in both diagnosis and treatment. The constellation of issues present from insulin resistance may look one way in a particular patient, yet may be completely different in another. Without a clear-cut understanding of how insulin resistance can lead to so many different conditions treatment becomes difficult.

“There is not yet a defined single diagnostic test for metabolic syndrome,” C. Ronald Kahn, MD, an endocrinologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center said. “We need the right biomarkers to understand insulin resistance and its many effects.”

According to Dr. Kahn, these biomarkers may lie in at the tissue level. For patients with insulin resistance, their bodies may manifest themselves completely differently from a similar patient. The reactions are isolated from one patient to another. Dr. Kahn believes that collectively, they identify a clinical syndrome.

“If you can identify the pattern, you can treat the patient accordingly,” Dr. Kahn said.

Source: The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists