Insulin Resistance

The insulin resistance tests measure the insulin blood levels with glucose and C-peptide. Insulin levels are also tested with the glucose tolerance test (GTT), and the blood glucose and insulin levels are measured at pre-established time intervals to evaluate insulin resistance. Order from Ulta Lab Tests today with results sent confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours.

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Diabetes & Insulin Resistance Tests Part 1

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) [ 4420 ]
CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) [ 6399 ]
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
Glucose [ 483 ]
Glucose Tolerance Test, 2 Specimens (75g) [ 35181 ]
Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C) [ 496 ]
Insulin [ 561 ]
Insulin Response to Glucose, 2 Specimens [ 6697 ]
Lipid Panel [ 7600 ]
Microalbumin, Random Urine with Creatinine [ 6517 ]


Diabetes & Insulin Resistance Tests Part 2

  • Adiponectin [ 15060 ]
  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • C-Peptide [ 372 ]
  • Fructosamine [ 8340 ]
  • Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase-65 Antibody [ 34878 ]
  • GlycoMark® [ 19599 ]
  • IA-2 Antibody [ 36177 ]
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™ [ 91604 ]
  • Proinsulin [ 760 ]
  • Urinalysis (UA), Complete [ 5463 ]

Cardio IQ® Insulin Resistance Panel with Score


  • Insulin, Intact, LC/MS/MS
  • C-Peptide, LC/MS/MS
  • Insulin Resistance Score

Patient Preparation

  • Overnight fasting is required

Clinical Significance

The determination of insulin in serum is primarily used for the diagnosis of glycemic disorders in diabetic and pre-diabetic patients in the assessment of insulin resistant syndromes. Insulin is synthesized by the pancreatic beta cell as a precursor, proinsulin. Proinsulin is processed to insulin and C-peptide, a contiguous peptide between the insulin A and B chains, as it passes through the cell. The C-peptide in the proinsulin ensures correct folding and processing of proinsulin as it passes through the cell. Both insulin and C-peptide are released together from the beta cells in response to increased glucose levels. Because of differences in half-life and hepatic clearance, peripheral blood levels of C-peptide and insulin are no longer equimolar but remain highly correlated. A steady-state plasma glucose test in individuals undergoing an insulin suppression test to assess insulin resistance found that the combination of insulin and C-peptide was a better indicator of insulin resistance than either one individually.



Suspected Insulin Resistance

  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Glucose
  • Insulin

Insulin is useful in diagnosing hyperinsulinemia in hypoglycemic patients. Hyperinsulinemia may be due to an insulin-producing tumor (insulinoma), syndrome of insulin resistance, or persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy.

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For diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes and insulin-secreting tumors.

There is a correlation between increased risk of premature heart disease with decreasing size of LDL particles. Ion mobility offers the only direct measurement of lipoprotein particle size and concentration for each lipoprotein from HDL3 to large VLDL.

The anti-insulin antibody test checks to see if your body has produced antibodies against insulin. If you have IgG and IgM antibodies against insulin, your body reacts as if the insulin is foreign. This may make insulin less effective, or not effective at all. The antibodies can also change the amount of time it takes insulin to work, putting you at risk for low blood sugar. This means that the insulin cannot move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. As a result, increased levels of insulin are needed to have the same effect, which is called insulin resistance. If the test shows high levels of IgE antibody against insulin, your body has developed an allergic response to the medication. This could put you at risk for skin reactions, or more severe reactions. Other medications, such as antihistamines or low-dose injectable steroids, may help to lessen the reaction. If reactions have been severe, an in-hospital procedure called desensitization may be necessary.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.

Lipid Panel includes: Total Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol (calculated), Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated), Non-HDL Cholesterol (calculated)Total cholesterol —this test measures all of the cholesterol in all the lipoprotein particles.High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — measures the cholesterol in HDL particles; often called "good cholesterol" because it removes excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for removal.Direct LDL - Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — calculates the cholesterol in LDL particles; often called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis. Usually, the amount of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is calculated using the results of total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides.Triglycerides — measures all the triglycerides in all the lipoprotein particles; most is in the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).

A lipid panel includes:Total cholesterol —this test measures all of the cholesterol in all the lipoprotein particles.High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — measures the cholesterol in HDL particles; often called "good cholesterol" because it removes excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for removal.Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — calculates the cholesterol in LDL particles; often called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis. Usually, the amount of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is calculated using the results of total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides.Triglycerides — measures all the triglycerides in all the lipoprotein particles; most is in the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) — calculated from triglycerides/5; this formula is based on the typical composition of VLDL particles.Non-HDL-C — calculated from total cholesterol minus HDL-C.Cholesterol/HDL ratio — calculated ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C.

Patient Preparation 

Fasting specimen is preferred. Patient should be free from medications for 2 days.  IMPORTANT DO NOT DISCONTINUE MEDICATIONS WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION AND APPROVAL OF YOUR PHYSICIAN.


Clinical Significance

Alpha MSH is a 13 amino acid peptide (1665 kD) with serine at the N terminal end and amidated valine at the C terminal end. Alpha MSH is derived from pro-opiomelanocorticotropin, a precursor protein which contains within its structure, the sequence of ACTH, beta MSH and gamma MSH. The amino acid sequence of alpha MSH is identical to ACTH 1-13 in humans. Alpha MSH stimulates melanosome dispersion within dermal melanocytes and melanin biosynthesis within epidermal melanocytes. It also stimulates aldosterone synthesis. Plasma alpha MSH increases in humans with high fever due to endotoxin. Average plasma alpha MSH has been found higher in AIDS patients and also in obese men with insulin resistance.




C-Reactive Protein Cardiac (hs CRP) Useful in predicting risk for cardiovascular disease.

HDL cholesterol is inversely related to the risk for cardiovascular disease. It increases following regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and with oral estrogen therapy. Decreased levels are associated with obesity, stress, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.

Total LDL and HDL cholesterol, in conjunction with a triglyceride determination, provide valuable information for the risk of coronary artery disease. Total serum cholesterol analysis is useful in the diagnosis of hyperlipoproteinemia, atherosclerosis, hepatic and thyroid diseases.

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LDL cholesterol is a key factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), while HDL cholesterol has often been observed to have a protective effect. Even within the normal range of total cholesterol concentrations, an increase in LDL cholesterol can produce an associated increased risk for CAD. LDL cholesterol binds to receptor sites on macrophages in blood vessel walls inciting several changes to the blood wall which enhance atherosclerotic plaque development.

Insulin resistance affects over one-third of American adults. Many of those adults will go on to develop diabetes and a host of related conditions, including metabolic syndrome, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other serious conditions. 

Many people believe they will be able to tell when their blood sugar levels change and they begin to develop insulin resistance. Unfortunately, most people don't develop any symptoms until insulin resistance has progressed to much more serious conditions. That's where insulin resistance tests come in. 

This is because not only is insulin resistance manageable, but it can also be reversible. The key to reversing insulin resistance is catching it early. If you're able to do so before it becomes prediabetes or even Type 2 diabetes, you can take charge of your health and make informed decisions.

Read on to learn about insulin resistance, when most people begin to develop symptoms, and how you can get safe, secure, and reliable insulin resistance tests, even without health insurance.

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is an extremely common condition. It occurs when your body's cells don't respond as well to the hormone and therefore don't use the glucose (sugar) from your blood as effectively. Your pancreas responds to the higher levels of glucose in your blood by producing more insulin. 

About Insulin Resistance

While your body may be able to adjust for a while, insulin resistance can worsen over time. As more glucose builds up in your blood and your body produces even more insulin, your cells can become resistant to it. As insulin resistance progresses, it can lead to diabetes, hypoglycemia, and hyperglycemia.

Insulin resistance syndrome can also include a host of related conditions. In addition to diabetes, these include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Insulin resistance is extremely common, and it frequently progresses to diabetes. The CDC estimates that over 1 in 3 adults in the United States are prediabetic, and over 10% of the adult population has diabetes.

Risk Factors for Insulin Resistance

Since insulin resistance is so common, most adults are at risk for developing it, especially as they age. Your doctor will likely recommend that you get tested for insulin resistance and diabetes at age 40, along with tests for other markers of health, even if you are not experiencing symptoms and have no other risk factors.

For younger adults, testing is advisable if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Obesity, especially with a high percentage of belly fat
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes
  • Have other health conditions, such as sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diet high in carbohydrates
  • Are African-American, Latino, or Native American

Causes of Insulin Resistance

Researchers aren't entirely sure what causes insulin resistance. They believe that the link between weight gain, especially belly fat, and insulin resistance may result from chronic inflammation caused by hormones produced by belly fat.

Lack of physical activity can also be a cause of insulin resistance. Regular physical activity helps your body regulate your blood glucose levels.

While there is still a lot of research to be done, this information is enough to help you take charge of your health. If you know you have insulin resistance, you can make changes that may help you avoid progressing to prediabetes or diabetes. 

Signs and Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Since your body is working so hard to make up for insulin resistance, many people have few symptoms, especially at first. Even once symptoms begin to appear, it's impossible to tell if you have insulin resistance syndrome just based on how you feel.

There are, however, some signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • darkened skin, especially on the armpits, neck, and groin
  • skin tags
  • fatigue
  • increased hunger or thirst
  • cravings for sweet or salty foods
  • frequent urination
  • tingling in hands or feet

Many people, however, will not experience these symptoms until their insulin resistance has progressed to prediabetes or even diabetes. You should also keep a close eye on other signs that indicate a higher risk for insulin resistance syndrome, such as:

  • a waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
  • high blood pressure
  • high fasting glucose levels
  • high triglyceride levels

The good news is that you can reverse insulin resistance with physical activity and weight loss, adjustments in diet, and other lifestyle changes. Testing for insulin resistance with Ulta Lab Tests can help you take control of your health and take preventative measures before insulin resistance progresses to more serious conditions.

Lab Tests for Insulin Resistance

There is no single test that can determine whether you have developed insulin resistance with 100% accuracy. However, a few common, non-invasive blood tests taken together can provide results on insulin resistance as well as other indicators of type 2 diabetes and related conditions. If you have many symptoms and/or risk factors for diabetes, your doctor may recommend more comprehensive blood panels or additional tests.

Two common types of tests, insulin tests, and glucose tests are frequently used to evaluate insulin resistance. There are also hemoglobin tests that show your average blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months and help diagnose diabetes. Lipid panels and others can also provide more information about your overall health and possible insulin resistance or prediabetes.

Glucose Tests

There are three common types of glucose tests:

  • Fasting glucose test - After fasting for at least 8 hours, this test measures your blood sugar.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test - Just as with the fasting plasma glucose test, you'll fast for at least 8 hours and then take the test. You'll then drink a sugary solution. After another 2 hours, you'll take the test again to compare differences in blood sugar levels.
  • Insulin response to glucose test - The insulin response to glucose infusion is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin resistance.

These tests are very similar. Either can help you evaluate whether you have insulin resistance or other, related blood sugar problems.

Hemoglobin A1C Tests

This test evaluates your average blood sugar levels over a 2 to 3 month period. This is especially useful if you are showing symptoms of prediabetes or diabetes, and is often part of a full panel of tests to determine whether you have diabetes, or are at risk of contracting diabetes soon.

FAQ About Insulin Resistance and Insulin Resistance Tests

It can be overwhelming to realize that you may have insulin resistance and related conditions. And with so many tests available, it can be challenging to make sense of your options. Read on for helpful answers to frequently asked questions about insulin resistance and insulin resistance tests. 

Won’t I Start Feeling Bad if I Am Developing Insulin Resistance?

Not necessarily. While some people will begin to experience the symptoms listed above before their insulin resistance syndrome progresses, other people won't feel any different until they are prediabetic or even have full diabetes. 

Your body is adept at compensating for insulin resistance, and your pancreas is working hard to make up for it. That's part of why you won't necessarily feel bad until you've progressed beyond insulin resistance.

If I Develop Insulin Resistance, Will I Definitely Get Diabetes?

No, and the good news is that insulin resistance can be slowed, stopped, and even reversed. You might not even need medication. Many people can adjust their blood sugar levels and reverse insulin resistance with diet and lifestyle changes.

Some of the most important lifestyle changes that you can make now are quitting smoking, moderating your consumption of alcohol, exercising, and eating a balanced, healthy diet.

Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity 5 days a week can make a huge difference. You don't have to run a marathon--even brisk walking can transform your body and help reverse insulin resistance.

A balanced diet, including lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meat, and other sources of protein, can also help. Studies have shown that losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can help reduce your risk of getting diabetes.

Depending on the severity of your insulin resistance as well as other symptoms and risk factors, your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin. This helps control your blood sugar.

Can’t I Just Change My Lifestyle Without Getting Tested?

It certainly helps to make lifestyle improvements no matter what. However, insulin resistance, while very common and potentially reversible, is also very dangerous. In addition to leading to type 2 diabetes, it and other related conditions can lead to serious complications if left untreated. These include stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, eye problems, Alzheimer's disease, and others.

The best thing you can do for your health is arm yourself with information, then consult with your doctor about your test results. The more you know about your own condition, the better able you are to manage and even reverse your insulin resistance, while also monitoring any possible complications.

What Is the Best Test for Me?

It depends on your concerns, symptoms, and the risk factors outlined above. If you are in great health and don't have any risk factors for insulin resistance or diabetes, but want to make sure that you aren't beginning to develop insulin resistance without being aware of it, a simple insulin resistance panel might be best.

This panel requires overnight fasting. It then uses a combination of markers to evaluate the insulin levels in your blood.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing worrisome symptoms, have a family history of diabetes, or are otherwise high-risk, you may be better served by a full Diabetes & Insulin Resistance panel. These panels include all of the tests mentioned above, as well as a few others, and also require fasting overnight.

Is My Information Safe?

Absolutely. Your results will be available in your secure web portal. No one else will have access to your information unless the release of test results is ordered by law.

Do I Need Health Insurance or a Physician Referral?

We don't require a referral from a doctor, and we offer the same low prices to everyone, with or without health insurance.

What You Can Do Next

Insulin resistance, while very common, is a potentially harmful condition that can progress to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It can even lead to dangerous or fatal events, like a heart attack or stroke.

The good news, however, is that you have the ability to take your health into your own hands. Book simple, secure insulin resistance tests today, and get the information you need to make decisions about your health and lifestyle.

Insulin is an essential hormone that is produced in the pancreas by beta cells. The body releases insulin in small amounts every time a meal is eaten so that glucose can be spread throughout the body. Glucose is essential to produce energy and is required by cells for survival. Bodies can demonstrate insulin resistance, which means cells, fat, and muscle tissue are less likely to respond to insulin’s effects. When someone is insulin resistant, their body will try to make up for a lack of insulin by producing even more of the hormone. This calls the blood to have inflated levels of insulin, creating a condition called hyperinsulinemia. It can also cause issues to be overstimulated, especially if those tissues are still sensitive to insulin. If not treated, this can cause glucose and insulin to become imbalanced in the body, which can lead to serious health issues.

Both insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are linked to the amount and concentration of lipids in the body. It can cause people to have more low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides in their bloodstream, as well as a decreased amount of high-density lipoprotein. This can create unhealthy cholesterol levels. Also, it can cause the body to retain more sodium, increase the risk for blood costs, and cause the body to become inflamed.

Experts do not fully understand what causes the body to develop a resistance to insulin. It’s believed that there are many factors in play, including a person’s lifestyle, ethnicity, and genetic predisposition to insulin resistance. Most people that are resistant to insulin do not show symptoms. The body can produce the additional insulin needed for years or more. However, when the body is not able to produce insulin as required, it can enter a hyperglycemic state. If glucose levels are elevated high enough, the body will develop type 2 diabetes. Anyone with insulin resistance is at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. This can cause blood vessels in numerous organs to be damaged, such as the vessels in the kidneys. Fatty plaque deposits can also form in the arteries due to these lipid changes, which can cause strokes and cardiovascular disease.

The term “insulin resistance” is often used interchangeably with “metabolic syndrome” to describe some of the issues that can occur when the body is insulin resistant and producing additional insulin. Both conditions can increase the risk of developing certain diseases. However, it’s more accurate to categorize metabolic syndrome as a subgroup of insulin resistance. The diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome include lipid level changes, issues with glucose processing, and obesity. The reason healthcare providers screen for metabolic syndrome is to identify the problem early on so that risks can be reduced through lifestyle changes.

Insulin resistance is not categorized as a disease, and because of this, it does not have specific diagnostic criteria. With that said, it is associated with numerous medical conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseasepolycystic ovarian syndrome, fatty liver disease, and hypertension. Some experts believe some types of cancer may be connected to insulin resistance. However, this is something that must be researched more extensively. Not all people that suffer from the conditions above are resistant to insulin. There are also people with insulin resistance that do not have any of these conditions. There is simply a link between insulin resistance and these health conditions. It is believed that insulin resistance could cause these issues to develop or make these issues more severe.


Insulin resistance isn’t something that can be detected through a single test. However, healthcare providers may suspect insulin resistance is a patient showing specific symptoms, such as elevated levels of glucose, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, while concentrations of HDL cholesterol decrease. Some of the tests a provider may order include:

Glucose Testing: Usually, this test requires fasting. However, other tests could be ordered as well, such as a glucose tolerance test, which is a series of tests that are taken at designated intervals. The purpose of this type of testing is to see if the body’s response to glucose is impaired.

A1C Testing: This test measures the percentage of hemoglobin that has bound to glucose in the bloodstream over the last three months. This test may also be referred to as a glycohemoglobin or HbA1c test.

Lipid Profile: This looks at the levels of triglycerides, HDL, and LDL in the body, as well as total cholesterol levels. If the test shows a significant elevation in triglyceride levels, LDL may be measured more directly.

Insulin resistance is frequently detected through the homeostatic model assessment. This measures the levels of insulin and glucose in the body, then uses that to calculate how pancreas beta cells are functioning.

Additional tests could be ordered to determine levels of insulin resistance and gather essential information could include:

Insulin testing: While results from a fasting test can vary, it’s typical for people with severe insulin resistance to show elevated levels

hs-CRP testing: This can evaluate cardiac risk by looking at low levels of inflammation in the body. Insulin resistance can cause an increase in inflammation.

LDL-P testing: This measures the number of low-density lipoprotein particles in the body via lipoprotein sub-fractions testing. It’s believed that certain types of LDL particles, such as small and dense particles, are linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Insulin tolerance testing: Although this type of testing isn’t common, it’s one way to determine how sensitive to insulin a person is. The test is especially useful for people that are obese or suffering from PCOS. During the test, a person will receive an infusion of insulin via an IV. From there, levels of insulin and glucose will be measured.

Quantitative insulin sensitivity check index testing: Also known as QUICKI testing, this test calculates insulin resistance using a formula that uses a person’s glucose and insulin levels. Blood tests will need to be performed to gather the information necessary for these calculations.

In research environments, insulin suppression tests may be used, but these tests aren’t typical in clinical environments.