Pathophysiology and treatment of the dyslipidemia of insulin resistance

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2001 Sep;3(5):416-23. doi: 10.1007/s11886-001-0059-0.


Insulin resistance, and the compensatory hyperinsulinemia that results, has been linked to a host of defects including glucose intolerance, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, endothelial dysfunction, impaired fibrinolysis, and subclinical inflammation. Patients with this metabolic syndrome have a markedly increased risk for the development of atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease. The characteristic dyslipidemia of insulin resistance consists of elevated triglyceride and triglyceride-rich lipoprotein levels, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased concentrations of small, dense low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Management of this dyslipidemia typically involves a dual approach. Lifestyle modification is an essential component of any successful treatment plan, but alone is usually insufficient to correct these lipoprotein abnormalities. Medications that diminish insulin resistance and directly alter lipoproteins are also necessary in the majority of cases. Combinations of therapeutic agents are often required to optimize attainment of treatment goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hyperlipidemias / physiopathology*
  • Hyperlipidemias / therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lactones / therapeutic use
  • Life Style
  • Lipase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Niacin / therapeutic use
  • Orlistat
  • Risk Factors


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lactones
  • Niacin
  • Metformin
  • Orlistat
  • Lipase