Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Insulin resistance is commonly proposed as a precursor to both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet few studies have directly compared insulin resistance with both outcomes simultaneously and determined whether associations with each outcome differ in strength or are comparable. We assessed the association of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR with incident CVD and diabetes in older people. METHODS: In the long-term follow-up of the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) cohort, HOMA-IR measurement was available in 4,742 older people (70-82 years) without diabetes at baseline. Of these, 283 developed diabetes during the 3.2 year within-trial follow-up, while 1,943 all-cause deaths, 470 CHD deaths (identified from death records) and 590 fatal/non-fatal CVD events (identified from medical record linkage in the Scottish participants) occurred during an extended 8.6 years of total follow-up. Cause-specific Cox proportional-hazards models were fitted using multivariable models. RESULTS: Higher HOMA-IR was associated with incident diabetes: HR 4.80 (95% CI 3.14, 7.33) comparing extreme thirds after adjustment for confounders. However, HOMA-IR in the top third was not associated with all-cause mortality, CHD mortality or fatal/non-fatal CVD: HR 1.02 (95% CI 0.90, 1.17), 1.03 (0.79, 1.36) and 0.94 (0.74, 1.20), respectively. Results were similar when fasting insulin was considered as an exposure. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our data support insulin resistance as a predictor of diabetes in later life but, perhaps surprisingly, suggest this pathway is of negligible importance to CVD outcomes in the elderly.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2513 - 2520


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Glucose, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Insulin Resistance, Male, Mortality, Prospective Studies, Risk