Tackling non-diabetics' insulin-resistance can reduce stroke risk

Treating insulin resistance in non-diabetic patients could reduce the incidence of stroke, US research suggests.

Researchers at University of Miami found that insulin resistance was a predictive marker, and a possible cause of, ischaemic stroke. Treating insulin resistance may, therefore, cut a non-diabetic patient’s risk of stroke.

In the study, the team studied data from 1,509 patients who undertook tests for insulin resistance. The participants had an average age of 68, they had not had an MI or stroke and they did not have diabetes.

After 9 years, 180 of those taking part in the study experienced one or more vascular events.

The researchers found those with the highest levels of insulin resistance were 2.8 times more likely to suffer a stroke than other patients. This was after adjusting for other risk factors such as blood glucose levels, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

The risk of other vascular events did not increase with insulin resistance, however, though the authors noted this may be because the researchers excluded patients with a history of MI from the study.

In an accompanying editorial, researchers from the University of Western Australia, Perth said that research now in progress may identify whether the effect was causal. ‘The implications of these findings are exciting if insulin resistance can be proven to be a causal risk factor for stroke – rather than a marker of increased risk – because insulin resistance cannot only be measured but also treated,’ they said.

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