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From Michigan, USA:

I have a family history of type 2 diabetes, and know that being overweight and having PCOS put me at a greater risk. I have been told that I show signs of insulin resistance because of my weight gain (mid-section) and brown spots/patches on my body, but the doctors they say I am not insulin resistant. I have had fasting glucose and insulin levels done on the same blood draw, and the glucose was 84 mg/dl [4.7 mmol/L] with an insulin level of 9.7.

What is the normal range for blood insulin levels? My doctor says 6-27, but and I have read elsewhere that it is 1-10. Is it true that the best way to diagnose insulin resistance with a Glucose Tolerance Test, which I am told is not what I had done. What is the test for determining insulin resistance?


Your question is very insightful. There is no easy test for insulin resistance. Many population-based studies have used either a fasting insulin level or insulin levels with a glucose tolerance test. However, your insulin level is not markedly elevated at 9.7mcU/ml. The best tests for insulin resistance are most often performed in the research setting. They include an IV glucose tolerance test or a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp study. For routine clinical monitoring, these are not necessary.

If you are overweight and have a family history, you probably do have some degree of insulin resistance. It is true that the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome does occur in people with insulin resistance. However, your fasting insulin is not very high.

Rather than answer yes or no, I would suggest there is a wide range of results. You do not have severe resistance but would have more than a person who is not overweight or has a family history of type 2 diabetes. Concentrate on a healthy lifestyle with weight loss and increased physical activity.


[Editor's comment: Also, see Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). SS]

Original posting 10 Jul 2002
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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