151.jpegInsulin resistance is the most common health problem in the United States, affecting more than 93% of American adults. It’s a serious issue and a major contributing factor to deadly conditions like high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AFib), heart disease, cancer, stroke, liver disease, and even dementia.

But what is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells inadequately respond to insulin, a crucial hormone that facilitates the conversion of food into energy. This causes your pancreas to go into overdrive and produce even more insulin to overcome the deficit. It's as if your cells have closed a door, preventing insulin from giving you the energy you need.

HealthspanMD Cardiology™, led by Dr. Robert Todd Hurst, focuses on preventing, treating, and even reversing diseases like this. Dr. Hurst and his team use the 5x5 Method™, a unique approach aiming to tackle the root causes of conditions such as insulin resistance. 

If you're worried about insulin resistance or want to learn about improving your health, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with HealthspanMD Cardiology. Discover how to work toward reversing insulin resistance and improving your overall health today.

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Keep reading to learn more about preventing diabetes by addressing your insulin resistance.

Understanding Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance develops when the body does not respond correctly to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps our bodies use glucose, or sugar, from the food we eat for energy. When there is insulin resistance, the cells in our body do not effectively use glucose. This leads to higher levels of glucose, or sugar, in our blood.

Dr. Hurst has identified eight primary factors that contribute to the development of insulin resistance:

  • Too many calories: Calories are your body’s fuel, and taking in too many can cause an excess to be left over.
  • The wrong calories: Highly processed foods aren’t just high in calories – they can also cause insulin to spike.
  • Too little activity: Without activity, your body will have a hard time burning the fuel you take in.
  • Too little sleep: Sleep deprivation can cause hormone imbalances that make your cells resistant to insulin.
  • Too much stress: Chronic stress causes our bodies to produce more cortisol, leading to insulin resistance.
  • Toxins: Smoking and consuming excessive alcohol are harmful in many ways, including the fact that they create insulin resistance.
  • Genetics: You may be genetically predisposed to insulin resistance, which is important to know when building a health plan.
  • Too much visceral fat: Too much body fat always increases your risk of insulin resistance, but visceral fat – the fat around the midsection that surrounds your organs – is the most dangerous.

When insulin resistance gets worse, it can lead to type 2 diabetes, a condition where the body's blood glucose levels are too high. Besides diabetes, insulin resistance is associated with other health problems, such as metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of digestive and kidney diseases.

Recognizing the symptoms of insulin resistance, such as fatigue, hunger, and trouble losing weight, can be vital for early intervention. Making lifestyle changes, like eating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight, can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other related health conditions.

The 5 Optimal Objectives to Combat Insulin Resistance

The HealthspanMD Cardiology 5x5 Method is a straightforward but effective approach designed to combat insulin resistance and promote overall health. This method emphasizes five key objectives and five tools to achieve them.

The 5 objectives are:

Great Blood Pressure

Maintaining a great blood pressure is crucial in preventing insulin resistance. High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, making it harder for insulin to help your cells use sugar from your blood for energy. Keeping blood pressure in check can lower your risk of becoming insulin resistant, which in turn reduces your risk of developing high blood sugar levels and diabetes.

Optimal Cholesterol 

Achieving optimal cholesterol levels is another important step in managing insulin sensitivity. High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to the buildup of fats in your blood vessels, impairing insulin's ability to work effectively. By keeping cholesterol levels in a healthy range, you can help ensure that insulin can properly help your cells use sugar, potentially reversing insulin resistance.

Insulin Sensitivity and Good Blood Sugar 

Having good blood sugar levels is essential. When your blood sugar levels are too high for too long, it can make your body insulin-resistant. But if you keep your blood sugar levels in a good range, it helps your body remain sensitive to insulin. This sensitivity allows insulin to do its job effectively, preventing or reversing insulin resistance.

Good Muscle Mass and Overall Fitness

Muscle mass and regular physical activity play a significant role in improving insulin sensitivity. Muscles use a lot of sugar from your blood, especially when you're active. Therefore, having more muscle and exercising regularly can help lower blood sugar levels and make your body more sensitive to insulin. This can be an effective way to prevent or reverse insulin resistance.

Healthy Fat and Low Visceral Fat

Managing body fat, especially visceral fat (the fat around your organs), is vital in preventing insulin resistance. Excess visceral fat releases chemicals that can make your body resistant to insulin. By keeping to a healthy weight and reducing visceral fat, you can reduce insulin resistance. This involves eating a balanced diet and staying active to manage your overall fat levels.

By focusing on these five optimal objectives, you can reduce the risk factors associated with insulin resistance, like high blood pressure and high blood sugar. These lifestyle changes can not only prevent or reverse insulin resistance but also improve your overall health.

The 5 Tools to Achieve the Optimal Objectives


Eating the right foods can help your body use insulin better. This includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods high in fiber are especially good because they help control blood sugar levels. It's also important to reduce intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, and high-fat foods. These changes can lower your risk of insulin resistance and improve your overall health. 

Physical Activity

Being active is one of the best ways to fight insulin resistance. Activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and strength training are especially beneficial. Exercise helps your muscles use sugar from your blood for energy, which lowers your blood sugar levels. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can make a big difference in improving insulin sensitivity.

Restorative Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for your body's insulin sensitivity. Lack of sleep can make your body use insulin less efficiently. Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Tips for improving sleep include sticking to a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding caffeine and screens before bedtime.

Stress Management

Stress affects how your body uses insulin. Learning to manage stress through techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or even walking can help improve insulin sensitivity. Reducing stress not only helps manage insulin resistance but also improves your overall well-being.

Toxin Avoidance

Toxins from the environment and our diet can affect insulin resistance. Limit exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and pollutants by choosing organic foods when possible, using natural cleaning and personal care products, and avoiding processed foods with artificial additives. Reducing toxin exposure can help maintain optimal insulin sensitivity and health.

Taking Action Against Insulin Resistance

Improving your insulin sensitivity is an important step to prevent or reverse insulin resistance and avoid the development of diabetes. One practical way to start is by gradually incorporating the HealthspanMD Cardiology 5x5 Method into your daily routine. 

  • First, focus on your diet by adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while reducing processed foods and sugars. 
  • Second, incorporate regular physical activity into your day, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise. This could be as simple as taking a brisk walk or cycling. 
  • Third, prioritize getting enough sleep by setting a regular bedtime and ensuring your sleeping environment is conducive to rest. 
  • Fourth, find effective stress management techniques that work for you, such as meditation or yoga. 
  • Lastly, try to limit your exposure to toxins by choosing non-processed foods whenever possible.

The HealthspanMD Cardiology team supports individuals in their efforts to reduce insulin resistance through a comprehensive approach. With a focus on diagnosing prediabetes early, the team provides personalized strategies based on the 5x5 Method to help patients make sustainable lifestyle changes. This individualized support aims to improve diabetes prevention program outcomes, helping patients not only to reduce insulin resistance but also to prevent the development of diabetes altogether.

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Ultimately, you can take control of how your body processes insulin. Multiple studies show that a comprehensive, evidence-based approach can:

  • Reduce the chance of progressing from prediabetes to diabetes by 58%
  • Reverse diabetes in over 60% of people
  • Lower the risk of heart disease by 53%, kidney disease by 61%, and eye disease by 68%
  • Lower death rates by more than 75%

For individuals looking to take proactive steps towards better health, HealthspanMD Cardiology offers personalized support and strategies catered to your unique needs. 

By working with us and developing a personalized plan to combat insulin resistance, you're taking a significant step toward preventing diabetes and improving your overall well-being. 

Take control of your health today and schedule an appointment with HealthspanMD Cardiology.

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