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Hyperinsulinemia describes an increased level of insulin in the blood. The condition is associated with glucose intolerance, obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia, factors that are collectively referred to as the metabolic syndrome.
Hyperinsulinemia is distinct from both diabetes or hyperglycemia, but it occurs as a result of early stage diabetes, which may progress to diabetes if it is not treated properly.
Hyperinsulinemia leads to several conditions and these are described below.
Insulin resistance is the primary cause of hyperinsulinemia. When a person has insulin resistance, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin. This may lead to type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar level adequately. In rare cases, a pancreatic tumor can cause hyperinsulinemia. A condition called nesidioblastosis, where there is an excess of the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas can also lead to hyperinsulinemia.