Insulin and insulin resistance: impact on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

Med Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;88(1):63-82. doi: 10.1016/s0025-7125(03)00128-7.


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality in individuals with diabetes. Many factors, including hypertension, contribute to the high prevalence of CVD in this population. Hypertension occurs approximately twice as frequently in patients with diabetes compared with patients without diabetes. Conversely, recent data suggest that hypertensive persons are more likely to develop diabetes than normotensive persons. In addition, up to 75% of CVD in patients with diabetes may be attributed to hypertension, leading to recommendations for more aggressive blood pressure control (ie, < 130/85 mm Hg) in persons with coexistent diabetes and hypertension. Increasing obesity further contributes to both diabetes and hypertension and significantly increases CVD morbidity and mortality. Other important risk factors for CVD in these patients include atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia, microalbuminuria, endothelial dysfunction, platelet hyperaggregability, coagulation abnormalities, and diabetic cardiomyopathy. The current knowledge regarding these risk factors has been reviewed, placing special emphasis on the metabolic syndrome, hypertension, microalbuminuria, and the role of obesity in these disorders. Although not discussed in detail, it is acknowledged that both hygienic measures (weight loss and aerobic exercise) and treatment strategies that include aspirin, statins, INS sensitizers, and antihypertensive agents that reduce renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activity have been shown to reduce inflammation, coagulation abnormalities, endothelial function, proteinuria, and in some cases reduce CVD and renal disease progression. Additional therapeutic agents are currently being developed specifically to improve INS sensitivity and other CVD risk factors that are components of the cardiometabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / physiology
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Obesity*
  • Risk Factors


  • Insulin
  • Angiotensin II