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Insulin Resistance: The Root Cause of Lifestyle Diseases

Published on 16th February 2023

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Insulin Resistance: The Root Cause of Lifestyle Diseases Or 5 Essential Things You Need To Know About Insulin Resistance

When you think about the deadliest diseases in the world, you tend to think about the fast-acting, lethal pandemics that hit the headlines. But you may be surprised to know that 74% of deaths worldwide are caused due to long-lasting chronic medical conditions. Many of these conditions can be prevented with healthy lifestyles. The root cause of lifestyle diseases is insulin resistance.

What’s a migraine?

Insulin is a chemical or hormone produced and released from the pancreas, an organ in our abdomen. The food we eat is broken down and digested in our stomach, and the sugar from the food is absorbed into our blood, increasing blood sugar.

With this rise in blood sugar, the pancreas releases insulin, which works like a key opening a door. Insulin helps each cell of the body to absorb sugar from the blood. That way, the cells take in glucose for energy, and the blood sugar levels start to decrease.

How Does Insulin Resistance Develop?

When the cells in your body do not respond well to the insulin hormone, then glucose cannot enter your cells easily. As a result, they cannot use glucose for energy, so you tend to feel tired and hungry and eat more. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin, but the cells are still resistant, causing your blood sugar to stay elevated.

Factors that may increase your risk of insulin resistance include:

● Central obesity with an increase in belly fat
● Inactive or sedentary lifestyle
● Diet high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats
● Gestational diabetes, or increased blood sugar levels during pregnancy
● A family history of diabetes
● Smoking
● Age more than 45 years
● Hormonal disorders
● Medications like steroids or antipsychotics
● Sleep problems like sleep apnea

What Are The Other Health Conditions Related To Insulin Resistance?

This resistance to insulin hormone causes your blood sugar levels to increase over time, leading to prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when glucose in the bloodstream is high but not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. The extra sugar in your blood gets stored as fat, which causes weight gain, obesity, and an increase in cholesterol levels.

Insulin resistance is also related to several other health conditions, including:

● Cardiovascular disease, with heart attacks and strokes
● Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
● Metabolic syndrome.
● Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
● Cancer

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Insulin Resistance?

The signs and symptoms of insulin resistance may not be very obvious initially. However, it could start with a feeling of tiredness and lethargy. You may also notice some weight gain. A waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women may cause concern.
Some people also notice skin tags around their face, neck, or upper body. Others notice patches of dark, velvety skin called acanthosis nigricans. They are found on the back of your neck, elbows, knees, knuckles, or armpits.
Your doctor may ask you to do specific blood tests for insulin resistance with these symptoms. In addition, you may be diagnosed with insulin resistance if you have:

6. What is an aura?

● Blood pressure 130/80 or higher
● A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL. This test measures your blood sugar after you haven’t eaten for at least 8 hours.
● High fasting insulin levels
● Elevated Hemoglobin A1c levels. This blood test shows your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. Levels between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicate insulin resistance, which may progress to prediabetes.
● A fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
● A HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) level lower than 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
● Oral glucose tolerance test: First, you'll take the fasting glucose test. Then you'll drink a sugary solution. After that, you'll take another blood test. The values are compared to see how well your body responds to the glucose.
There are other parameters that are calculated using your fasting glucose and fasting insulin levels.

1. HOMA-IR (Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance)

According to studies, a HOMA- IR value less than 1.0 means you are insulin-sensitive, which is normal. Above 1.9 indicates early insulin resistance, while above 2.9 indicates significant insulin resistance.

2. QUICKI (Quantitative Insulin sensitivity Check Index)

According to calculations, the QUICKI score can be interpreted as follows:
● QUICKI index =0.45 - you are probably healthy;
● QUICKI index between 0.30 - 0.45 - you might be insulin resistant;
● QUICKI index =0.30 - you might have diabetes.

How Can Insulin Resistance Be Treated And Prevented?

Scientific studies have shown that insulin resistance, prediabetes, and Type 2 diabetes can be managed by the right lifestyle changes and, in many cases, reversed. So, how can you reverse insulin resistance?
● Moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, like brisk walking, swimming, and jogging, five or more days a week, reduces insulin resistance.
An excellent way to stay consistent with your exercise program is to choose a physical activity you enjoy doing. Try working out with a group class or an exercise partner to make your sessions fun. Combine cardio exercise with strength training or weight-bearing exercises to burn calories and build muscle strength.
Try and improve your activity levels during your day as well. Simple steps like taking the stairs, walking for errands, or taking walking and stretching breaks when working can help burn calories too.

● Eat a healthy diet with wholesome foods and regular meal times for the best results.

Vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are great for reversing insulin resistance. Complex carbohydrates have enough sugar for your body to build energy levels. As a result, their sugar absorption slows, keeping you fuller for longer periods of time and controlling your blood sugar levels.
Avoid simple sugars like high fructose corn syrup, which are present in candies, cakes, and soft drinks. Increase your fiber Intake. Research shows that eating insoluble fiber with each meal reduces the risk of prediabetes and diabetes. Fresh fruits like pears, apples, prunes, dried figs, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are rich in fiber.

● Keep your sleep cycles regular.
Studies reveal that 62% of people with glucose levels in the pre-diabetes range are likely to have poor sleep. This shows that sleep is as essential to your health as a healthy diet and exercise in reversing insulin resistance.
● Keep your stress levels under control.
When you feel stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, making it harder for insulin to work properly. So keeping your stress levels under control with yoga, meditation, counseling, or breathing exercises can help reverse insulin resistance.


Insulin resistance can lead to many severe health conditions if you don’t manage its symptoms on time because it is the root cause of lifestyle diseases. The good news is that changing your eating and sleeping habits and boosting your activity levels can help reverse insulin resistance to live your best life!