Insulin resistance and the risk of stroke and stroke subtypes in the nondiabetic elderly

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Oct 15;176(8):699-707. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws149. Epub 2012 Oct 3.


Insulin resistance, which plays a key role in the development of diabetes mellitus, is a putative modifiable risk factor for stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate if markers of insulin resistance were associated with risk of stroke in the general elderly population. This study was part of the large population-based Rotterdam Study and included 5,234 participants who were aged 55 years or older and stroke free and diabetes free at baseline (1997-2001). Fasting insulin levels and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance were used as markers for insulin resistance. Cox regression was used to determine associations between insulin resistance markers and stroke risk, adjusted for age, sex, and potential confounders. During 42,806 person-years of follow-up (median: 8.6 years), 366 first-ever strokes occurred, of which 225 were cerebral infarctions, 42 were intracerebral hemorrhages, and 99 were unspecified strokes. Fasting insulin levels were not associated with risk of any stroke, cerebral infarction, or intracerebral hemorrhage. Homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance, which almost perfectly correlated with fasting insulin levels, was also not associated with risk of stroke or stroke subtypes. In conclusion, in this population-based cohort study among nondiabetic elderly, insulin resistance markers were not associated with risk of stroke or any of its subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / epidemiology
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / metabolism
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / metabolism
  • Cerebral Infarction / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / metabolism*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Insulin