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Insulin resistance in women's health: why it matters and how to identify it

Legro, Richard S

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: August 2009 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 301–305
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32832e07d5
Reproductive endocrinology: Edited by David L. Olive

Purpose of review To examine the significance of insulin resistance in women's health and review methods for diagnosing it.

Recent findings Clinical phenotypes in conjunction with standard clinical biochemical assays, that is, the metabolic syndrome, remain the key method to diagnose insulin resistance in clinical practice. Candidate alleles from type 2 diabetes offer little predictive value for cardiovascular events beyond traditional risk factors. Simple environmental factors such as irregular meal frequency appear to increase the risk of the metabolic syndrome and require greater scrutiny. Pregnancy complications, particularly gestational diabetes and preeclampsia in the mother and preterm birth in the fetus are events that suggest elevated risk for future cardiovascular morbidity in those affected.

Summary Clinical phenotypes of insulin resistance identify women at risk for perinatal and reproductive complications.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence to Richard S. Legro, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Penn State College of Medicine, M.S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, H103, Hershey, PA 17033, USA Tel: +1 717 531 8478; fax: +1 717 531 6286; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.