Metabolic Syndrome | Overview


What is insulin resistance?

Your body changes most of the food you eat into glucose (a form of sugar). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter all the cells of your body and be used as energy.

In some people, the body’s tissues stop responding to insulin. Doctors refer to this condition as insulin resistance. If you have insulin resistance, your body will make more and more insulin, but because your tissues don't respond to it, your body can’t use glucose properly.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Insulin resistance often goes along with other health problems, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These problems are all risk factors for heart disease. When a person has many of these problems at the same time, doctors commonly call it “metabolic syndrome.” It is sometimes called “insulin resistance syndrome” or “syndrome X.” Many people who have type 2 diabetes also have metabolic syndrome.


Metabolic Syndrome: Time for Action by Darwin Deen, M.D., M.S. (American Family Physician June 15, 2004,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 01/05