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I am the parent of a 4 year old who was diagnosed with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia at age three. She had a glucose tolerance test performed. Her glucose levels were fine at the time, but her insulin levels were high according to the doctors. The doctors termed her condition as hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance. My daughter is NOT insulin dependent and does not require insulin. However I was told this is a form of diabetes and is difficult to treat, and very little is known about it. Is this correct?

I want to know if there is any additional information that can help me. Her past labs have indicated that she produces 3x's (times) more insulin than her body needs but uses only 1%-3% of it according to her doctors. I worry because I do not want her to burn out her pancreas in 4-5 years as some doctors here have estimated. I currently have my child on a vigorous exercise program to try to battle her overweight but it is a constant battle. I also have monitored closely what she eats.

What happens to the over produced/rejected insulin in the body? Is it true it is stored as fat??? Is it a certainty that reducing the weight will cure the insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia?

Any information you can provide is helpful. I have tried to find information, but it is difficult, especially since most issues regarding diabetes address insulin-dependent children.


In a four year old, typical non-insulin dependent diabetes is quite rare. There are other rare causes of insulin resistance. Several hormones and medicines can interfere with the action of insulin, so the individual must make more insulin to keep the blood sugar normal. There are also very rare cases where the body makes antibodies against the insulin receptor.

For insulin to work properly, it must first bind to what is called the insulin receptor on the body cells. If for any reason the insulin cannot bind properly to its receptor, or the receptor does not function normally, the body may have to make more insulin to keep the blood sugar normal.

Without more specific information, I cannot say what the exact problem is with your child. I hope this helps you better understand what is meant by insulin resistance so you can talk to your child's own physician to better understand her problem.


Original posting 27 Jul 96


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