Insulin resistance is an underappreciated facet of type 1 diabetes that occurs with remarkable consistency and considerable magnitude. Although therapeutic innovations are continuing to normalize dysglycemia, a sizable body of data suggests a second metabolic abnormality—iatrogenic hyperinsulinemia—principally drives insulin resistance and its consequences in this population and has not been addressed. We review this evidence to show that injecting insulin into the peripheral circulation bypasses first-pass hepatic insulin clearance, which leads to the unintended metabolic consequence of whole-body insulin resistance. We propose restructuring insulin therapy to restore the physiological insulin balance between the hepatic portal and peripheral circulations and thereby avoid the complications of life-long insulin resistance. As technology rapidly advances and our ability to ensure euglycemia improves, iatrogenic insulin resistance will become the final barrier to overcome to restore normal physiology, health, and life in type 1 diabetes.
- Received December 22, 2019.
- Accepted February 12, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association