Is it Possible to Predict the Likelihood of Age-Related Disease?

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Treatment

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Researchers wanted to find out how the varying degrees of insulin resistance in three groups at the start of a study might correspond with long-term health problems.

Anyone who lives well past middle age knows what it’s like to see more and more members of their generation develop health problems as the years roll along. It’s natural to see this as an inevitable consequence of aging, but a study that followed a large group of healthy, middle-aged adults for as long as a decade found one factor that separated those who became seriously ill from those who did not: their degree of insulin resistance.

What does this term describe? Your body depends on the hormone insulin to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Factors including obesity, inactivity and diets high in refined carbohydrates can make a body less responsive to the insulin it produces, and insulin doesn’t do its job as well. This is “insulin resistance.”

During the initial period of the study, from 1988-1995, 290 healthy volunteers were recruited who were older than 30, not obese and did not have symptoms or family history of hypertension. All had blood glucose within normal ranges, but they were divided into three groups (low, mid and top) according to their level of insulin resistance at the start of the study.

The researchers wanted to find out how the varying degrees of insulin resistance in the three groups at the start of the study might correspond with long-term health problems. They were able to conduct follow-up evaluations on 208 of the volunteers (98 male, 110 female), at an average of about 6 years after their initial tests.

The researchers looked for several things: development of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Remarkably, none of the subjects in the “low” third — those with the greatest sensitivity to insulin — had developed any of these problems. By comparison, one out of three people in the “high” third had experienced one of them.

The researchers urged that their findings “should serve as a strong stimulus to further efforts to define the role of insulin resistance in the genesis of long-term diseases.”

Insulin resistance is a factor in poor metabolic health*, a condition which affects seven out of eight Americans and is a risk factor for a number of serious ailments. As concerning as this may be, changes in lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can have a significant impact on metabolic health and are within the reach of anyone.

eSavvyHealth has created a number of resources, from free eBooks to courses, that can help you understand the causes of insulin resistance.

*The term “metabolism” encompasses the chemical processes involved in keeping your body alive and functioning normally, using energy from the food you eat. If you have “metabolic health,” things are working as they should.

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance


The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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