Hyperinsulinemia: Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Diet

https://www.breathewellbeing.in/blog/author/surajeet-kumar-patra/ Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Surajeet Kumar Patra, MBBS, MD, FDIAB, MBA & APMP March 4, 2022

Last updated on March 4th, 2022

Hyperinsulinemia is frequently linked with type 2 diabetes, but this condition is not diabetes as such. Hyperinsulinemia signifies that insulin present in the blood is very much greater as compared to the normal level amongst non-diabetics. When an individual has this condition, he or she faces an issue while regulating his or her blood glucose level, signifying that a huge amount of insulin gets secreted from the pancreas in order to keep blood glucose at a standard level.

Hyperinsulinemia is having irregularly high insulin levels in the body. Insulin is a hormone that gets produced by the pancreas. Insulin aids in maintaining proper blood glucose levels. Hyperinsulinemia is not diabetes if it’s only an indication. On the other hand, they both might be due to insulin resistance. Hence, it’s quite common for hyperinsulinemia to be associated with type 2 diabetes.

As a result, sugar starts accumulating in the bloodstream. As the body fails to access the sugar for fuel, starving of the body cells result and a person might feel extremely hungry or thirsty. The body efforts to reduce the levels of blood glucose by liberating even more insulin into the bloodstream. Due to this, the body ends up with both high levels of blood glucose as well as high insulin levels.

What are the Signs of Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia might not have any visible signs. But few possible signs can be:

  • unexpected weight gain
  • too much hunger
  • frequent hunger
  • sugar longings
  • concentration issues
  • intense tiredness
  • nervousness or feelings of panic
  • hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar

Signs in infants and young kids can be:

  • trouble in having food
  • intense irritation
  • fatigue or no energy

Hyperinsulinemia: Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Diet

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How is Hyperinsulinemia Caused?

Insulin resistance is the most characteristic cause of hyperinsulinemia. Insulin resistance means when a person’s body fails to respond to insulin appropriately. This inappropriate response causes the body to produce more amount of insulin by the pancreas.

As the pancreas produces a high amount of insulin, the body carries on to resist and respond inaccurately to the raised insulin levels. The pancreas would constantly require making more in order to compensate. In the end, the pancreas would not be capable of keeping up with the amount of insulin a body requires for keeping the blood glucose at a healthy level. Insulin resistance might ultimately cause type 2 diabetes.

It is found in the studies that hyperinsulinemia occurs due to insulin resistance, whereas others determine that insulin resistance is responsible for hyperinsulinemia. Irrespective, the two terms are closely entangled. When there is an increase in the levels of blood sugar, the pancreas’ beta cells react by forming and releasing a large amount of insulin into the bloodstream to try to keep the glucose level at a standard one. As cells become insulin resistant, the insulin level keeps on elevating. The way the metabolism of insulin is done in the body depends on the person’s race, sex, age, diet, as well as activity level.

Less common reasons for hyperinsulinemia occurrence can be insulinoma and nesidioblastosis. Insulinoma is defined as a rare tumor of the pancreas cells responsible for producing insulin. And, Nesidioblastosis is when an excess of cells is produced by the pancreas that is responsible for making insulin.

Also, hyperinsulinemia can develop post-gastric bypass surgery. The theory behind this is that the cells have become too big and energetic for the body, however, the body alters considerably after having a bypass.

Other reasons can be:

  • genetic predisposition
  • family history of high blood pressure

What are the Risks of Having Hyperinsulinemia?

Several risks are involved in having hyperinsulinemia including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure, or hypertension
  • Weight gain
  • Higher levels of triglycerides
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • High uric acid levels

The sooner a person diagnoses hyperinsulinemia (might be in the form of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes), the sooner the risks or extent of the condition might be lowered.

Also Read: Normal glucose level in body

How to Diagnose Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia is diagnosed by testing a person’s blood insulin and sugar levels. It can also be diagnosed by performing routine blood tests while undergoing diabetes testing or testing for other problems like high levels of cholesterol.

The preliminary test for evaluating the insulin levels is insulin in a blood test. This is a fasting test that includes taking a small blood sample from a vein in a person’s arm and evaluating the insulin levels.

A healthcare provider would possibly request a fasting blood sugar test and perhaps a hemoglobin A1C. The insulin levels are normal when they fall below 25 mIU/L during a fasting test. 1-hour post-glucose intake, they might enhance from 18 to 276 mIU/L. If there is a constant increase in this high insulin level, or even gets more elevated while fasting, a person could be diagnosed with hyperinsulinemia.

What are the Treatment Alternatives?

Hyperinsulinemia treatment initiates by treating the underlying cause of the condition. This is chiefly true if the condition results due to insulinoma or nesidioblastosis. The treatment can involve a blend of medicines, lifestyle modifications, as well as surgery. These lifestyle modifications may include diet and exercise.


The medicines helpful for treating hyperinsulinemia are very much similar to the medicines used for treating diabetes. On the other hand, medicine must be used only if diet and exercise aren’t sufficient for controlling this condition. Few medicines might also make this condition inferior. It’s vital to talk about every medicine with a healthcare provider. Also, all the doctors must be conscious about all of the medicines a patient is consuming and about all the medical problems as well.

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Any physical activity or exercise might be effectual in making better a person’s body’s sensitivity to insulin. This improvement lessens insulin resistance, one of the major reasons for hyperinsulinemia. Exercise might also lower down the risk of obesity, which is thought to be an underlying cause of this condition. It is important to talk about the types of exercise a person must try while treating hyperinsulinemia with the concerned healthcare provider. This is due to the reason that few exercises or the intensity of few exercises might worsen a person’s condition rather than improving it.

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There exist 2 major types of exercises suggested for the treatment of hyperinsulinemia. These are:

  • Resistance exercises: This form of exercise depends upon one muscle group at a time. This must involve a low number of repetitions as well as substantial rest periods. Resistance training enhances muscle mass, which thereby assists in the absorption of glucose as well as lessens the dependency on insulin.
  • Aerobic exercises: A person must set a goal for light- to moderate-intensity for obtaining the most effective outcomes. Few effective aerobic exercises for hyperinsulinemia can be swimming, walking, or jogging. Aerobic exercise might be useful to enhance glucose uptake and reduce insulin.
  • HIIT exercise can also be advised which is a type of aerobic exercise. It alternates between short high-intensity sets as well as low-intensity sets, which assists in a person’s recovery. This exercise type includes short spurts of dynamic activity subsequently periods of lower intensity to assist with endurance and quick recovery. HIIT is thought to make better insulin sensitivity, and a few HIIT training sessions finish within 7 minutes.


Diet is chiefly vital in any treatment, also in the treatment of hyperinsulinemia. A healthy meal plan is very important to control the body’s overall functions in a better way as well as lower down excess weight. It might also help in controlling glucose and insulin levels.

how many carbs per day for a diabetic

3 much-practiced diets for glycemic control and also can be used for treating hyperinsulinemia can be:

  • A low-fat diet: concentrates upon keeping fat low (roughly 20% to 35% of total calories), carbohydrates moderately high (roughly 45% to 65% of total calories), as well as a moderate amount of protein (10% to 35% of total calories).
  • A low-carb diet: concentrates upon keeping the count of carbohydrates too less (ranging from 10% to 40% of total calories), whereas enhancing the intake of fat, however, keeping protein moderate.
  • Mediterranean diet: concentrates upon lean protein, low quantities of red meat, enough veggies and fiber from whole grains, as well as plant-based fats like olive oil and olives.

Irrespective of the diet a person opts for or how the person can balance the ratio of carbohydrates: protein: fat, aim to eat have the whole, unrefined foods. This involves enough fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, as well as fiber-rich starches, together with restricting the amounts of processed foods as well as foods with extra sugar or artificial sweeteners.

These diets assist a person in his or her glycemic control, which further improves the body’s insulin response. Also, it is a must to avoid a high-protein diet. Diets rich in protein assist in a few types of diabetes, however, they might enhance the condition of hyperinsulinemia. Each of these diets may contain fruits, whole grains, veggies, lean meats, as well as fiber. It is a must to speak about any diet modifications with the concerned doctor before initiating any new diet plan.

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Complications Associated with Hyperinsulinemia

Numerous complications can appear due to hyperinsulinemia, making the problem more extensive than expected. Concentrating only upon the blood sugar metrics doesn’t make up the fact that high insulin levels may mask the standard markers of glucose tolerance, indicating a poor insulin response might be hidden. Hyperinsulinemia is measured as an early indicator of a bigger metabolic impairment and has been associated with some serious complications. Hyperinsulinemia might bring about low blood glucose levels. Low blood glucose might result in numerous severe complications including:

  • seizures or convulsions
  • cardiovascular disorders
  • coma
  • cognitive function problems (particularly in young children) like Alzheimer’s disease
  • few types of cancer, owing to the stimulation of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

Pregnancy and Hyperinsulinemia

In pregnant females having unregulated sugar levels, the fetus is found to be exposed to high levels of glucose. In response, the fetal pancreas experiences certain modifications to form more insulin. Post-birth, the baby carries on experiencing too much insulin levels or hyperinsulinemia and would experience an unexpected fall in the levels of blood glucose. The baby is treated with glucose following delivery as well as the levels of insulin come back to normal within 2 days.


Hyperinsulinemia is the condition in which the amount of insulin in a person’s blood reaches the normal limit. Alone, it is not considered diabetes. However, hyperinsulinemia is frequently related to type 2 diabetes. Hyperinsulinemia is an indication of an underlying health issue. This condition most commonly results due to insulin resistance (which is a condition in which the body doesn’t respond well to the insulin effects). The pancreas tries to compensate by producing a higher amount of insulin. Insulin resistance might ultimately bring about the development of type 2 diabetes. This occurs when the pancreas is no longer capable of compensating by secreting a huge amount of insulin needed to keep the blood glucose within the standard limit.

Hyperinsulinemia generally results in no signs or symptoms, excluding individuals having insulinomas in whom hyperinsulinemia might result in low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). The hyperinsulinemia treatment can be directed at the underlying problem. And the condition might be managed and controlled. Though, it’s vital to go for regular examinations with the healthcare provider. These checkups would let for a timely diagnosis. The sooner the condition is diagnosed and managed, the less will be the possibility of having serious complications.

Can Hyperinsulinemia be Reversed?

Hyperinsulinemia occurs most commonly due to a condition named insulin resistance which also is responsible for the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Weight loss, diet, as well as physical activity are the best ways by which insulin resistance can be reversed and hyperinsulinemia can be improved. For reversing the condition, Breathe Well-being is the best platform one can opt for. Breathe Well-being is a well-researched path as well as a clinically proven approach to Type 2 Diabetes Reversal and its Management. The reversal plan has helped 10,000+ diabetics to live a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, lower blood sugar and prevent other diabetes-related complications. Its evidence-based strategy facilitates the proper delivery of nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness.

With appropriate lifestyle alterations, weight management, and medicines, it may be conceivable to bring a blood sugar level back to normal. With above 95% patients showing HbA1c level decrease of above 10% and 90% plus patients stopped or decreased doses of their medicines.

Also Read: Is potato good for diabetes?


Can hyperinsulinemia result in hair loss?

Insulin resistance, a major sign of prediabetes, might also result in an unexpected hair loss.

What foods result in insulin resistance?

Saturated as well as trans fats boost insulin resistance. These originate from animal sources, like meats and cheese, and fried foods in partially hydrogenated oils. Sweetened beverages like soda, fruit drinks, vitamin water, or iced teas also can increase weight gain.

What medicines are used for treating hyperinsulinemia?

The medications used for congenital hyperinsulinism include glucagon, octreotide, diazoxide, and nifedipine.

What foods should I not consume if I have hyperinsulinemia?

A high-protein diet must be strictly avoided. Diets rich in protein might assist in some forms of diabetes, but they are known to enhance hyperinsulinemia.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/expert-answers/hyperinsulinemia/faq-20058488
  2. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/hyperinsulinemia.html
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperinsulinemia

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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