Insulin resistance is a clinical condition characterized by a decrease in sensitivity and responsiveness to the metabolic actions of insulin, so that a given concentration of insulin produces a less-than-expected biological effect. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed to maintain normal glucose tolerance. Hyperinsulinemia, indeed, is one of the principal characteristics of insulin resistance states. This feature is common in several pathologic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidemia, and it is also a prominent component of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and atherosclerosis. The presence of endothelial dysfunction, related to insulin resistance, plays a key role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis in all of these disorders. Insulin resistance represents the earliest detectable abnormality in type 2 diabetes, and is one of the major underlying mechanisms of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Its early detection could be of great importance, in order to set a therapeutic attack and to counteract the higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Endothelial dysfunction; Hyperinsulinemia; Insulin resistance; Type 2 diabetes.