Study: Just 2 Weeks’ Inactivity Can Trigger Diabetes in at-Risk Seniors

A short stretch of inactivity can unlease diabetes in older adults at risk for the blood-sugar disease, a new study finds.

For the study, overweight patients with prediabetes were asked to reduce their daily steps to no more than 1,000 a day for two weeks.

This short stretch of reduced activity led to elevated blood sugar levels and sped onset of type 2 diabetes — and some patients did not fully recover even after resuming normal activity, according to the Canadian study. It was published online recently in The Journals of Gerontology.

“We expected to find that the study participants would become diabetic, but we were surprised to see that they didn’t revert back to their healthier state when they returned to normal activity,” said lead author Chris McGlory.

He is a research fellow in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.

The findings suggest seniors who become inactive due to illness, bed rest or hospitalization are more likely to suffer harmful health effects.

“Treatment of type 2 diabetes is expensive and often complicated,” study co-author Stuart Phillips said in a university news release. Phillips is a professor in the department of kinesiology.

“If people are going to be off their feet for an extended period they need to work actively to recover their ability to handle blood sugar,” he said.

More than 84 million Americans have prediabetes, and more than 30 million are diabetic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In order for prediabetic older adults to recover metabolic health and prevent further declines from periods of inactivity, strategies such as active rehabilitation, dietary changes and perhaps medication might be useful,” McGlory said.

Source: HealthDay


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A 3-Pronged Plan to Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . . .

The type 2 diabetes tide remains unchecked in the United States, as does pre-diabetes — having a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that about 30 million Americans — roughly 10 percent of the population — have type 2 diabetes. What’s more, over 80 million have pre-diabetes, which, if not treated, often leads to diabetes within five years.

That puts these people at risk of heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, and kidney and eye damage, among other health threats.

While type 2 diabetes is more common among certain ethnic and racial groups — including American Indians, Alaska Natives, African Americans and people of Hispanic descent — no one is immune. And though you can’t change your heritage, you can change diabetes risk factors like carrying too much weight and being sedentary.

A multi-year U.S. National Institutes of Health study of more than 3,000 overweight or obese adults with blood sugar at pre-diabetes levels found that lifestyle changes can have a profound effect. Achieving a 7 percent weight loss and doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week lowered the rate of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, compared to people who didn’t make these changes.

What you eat counts, too. Focusing on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy cuts type 2 diabetes risk. By contrast, eating a lot of refined grains (like baked goods made with white flour and white rice), processed meats and added sugars increases it. So aim to rebalance your diet.

Finally, rethink your drink. One very simple step is to cut out sugar-sweetened beverages. Sodas and similar drinks may lead not only to type 2 diabetes, but also to overweight and more belly fat in particular.

Source: HealthDay


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National Diabetes Prevention Program . . . . .


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Air Pollution May Account for 1 in 7 New Diabetes Cases Worldwide

Anne Harding wrote . . . . . . .

Air pollution could be responsible for 3.2 million new cases of type 2 diabetes every year globally, suggests a new analysis.

“We estimate that about 14 percent of diabetes in the world occurs because of higher levels of air pollution, that’s one in seven cases,” said senior study author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University and the VA Saint Louis Health Care System in Missouri.

“Risks exist at levels that are below what’s now currently considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States and also by the World Health Organization,” he told Reuters Health in a phone interview.

The tiniest form of particulate matter pollution, known as PM 2.5, is already associated with increased risk of heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and other noncommunicable diseases “and contributed to about 4.2 million premature deaths in 2015,” the study team writes in The Lancet Planetary Health.

PM 2.5 is the mix of solid fragments and liquid droplets suspended in air that’s sometimes visible to human eyes as haze.

“There is emerging evidence over the past several years that particulates, when they are small enough, they make their way through the lungs to the blood vessels,” Al-Aly said. “They go to the liver, they go to the pancreas, they go to the kidneys. These particles are noxious. They irritate tissue and they damage tissue, they create oxidative stress, they create inflammation.”

Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity and aging and occurs when the pancreas can’t make or process enough of the hormone insulin.

To look for a link between air pollution and type 2 diabetes, researchers analyzed data on 1.7 million U.S. veterans without diabetes, comparing PM 2.5 levels where they lived to their risk of being newly diagnosed with the disease during the next eight and a half years, on average. The researchers separated out the independent effect of air pollution by taking other diabetes risk factors, like obesity, into account.

Veterans’ annual average daily PM 2.5 exposure ranged from 5 to 22.1 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3) of air. A 10-point increase in PM 2.5 concentration was associated with a 15 percent higher risk of developing diabetes, and an 8 percent higher risk of death. Risk of diabetes started to rise when pollution levels exceeded 2.4 mcg/m3, well below the EPA’s current standard of 12 mcg/m3 and the World Health Organization guideline of 10 mcg/m3.

Al-Aly and his colleagues then looked at worldwide PM 2.5 levels to estimate the total burden of diabetes due to air pollution. About 3.2 million new cases of diabetes, 8.2 million years of life lost to disability and more than 200,000 deaths annually were attributable to breathing dirty air, the authors calculated. Low-income and low-to-middle income countries bore the largest burden of air pollution-related diabetes.

While air in the U.S. is relatively clean compared to smog-choked parts of China, India and elsewhere, Al-Aly said, “we need to do better.”

He called for moving to “energy sources that contribute much less to pollution, more electric cars, more hybrid cars, more solar power and wind sources of energy rather than coal. It’s already happening, but probably not fast enough.”

In an editorial, Dr. Gary O’Donovan of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, and Dr. Carlos Cadena-Gaitan of the Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, call the findings “another call for action.” They note that the current study did not adjust for physical activity, and that it’s possible to cut air pollution while promoting exercise with programs like Bogota’s Cyclovia, in which city roads are closed to motor vehicles on Sundays and holidays to make room for walkers and cyclists.

“More research is required to determine the independent associations of physical activity and air pollution with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases; nonetheless, there is more than enough evidence to justify the implementation of policies and interventions that might actually increase physical activity and decrease air pollution, such as Cyclovias, free sport and exercise facilities, bicycle sharing schemes, electric vehicles, low sulfur fuels, exhaust filters, and driving prohibition schemes,” they write.

Source: Reuters


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Even at ‘Safe’ Levels, Air Pollution May Boost Diabetes Risk

Add another health harm to air pollution: New research suggests it might increase the risk of diabetes, even at levels considered safe.

Cutting air pollution could reduce diabetes rates in countries with both higher and lower levels of air pollution, the researchers said.

“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said study senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly. He’s an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization,” Al Aly said in a university news release.

“This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened,” he added.

But the findings did not prove that air pollution causes diabetes.

In the study, the researchers estimated that air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases worldwide in 2016, or about 14 percent of all new cases that year. They also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost worldwide in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes.

In the United States, air pollution is linked with 150,000 new cases of diabetes a year and 350,000 years of healthy life lost each year, according to the report.

Diabetes affects more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main causes of type 2 diabetes include an unhealthy diet, inactivity and obesity, but this study highlights the significance of outdoor air pollution.

It’s believed that air pollution reduces insulin production and triggers inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood sugar into energy that the body needs to maintain health, the study authors explained.

The study was published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Previous research has linked air pollution with heart disease, stroke, cancer and kidney disease.

Source: HealthDay

One Blood Test Might Be Enough to Diagnose Diabetes

New research suggests that a single blood test could confirm type 2 diabetes, saving patients time and health care costs.

Currently, it’s recommended that a blood test focused on elevated fasting levels of blood sugar (glucose) or a blood component called glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) be confirmed with a second blood test at a follow-up visit.

But taking the test twice takes up time and money and could still result in missed diagnoses, said a team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

In the new study, researchers led by Hopkins epidemiologist Elizabeth Selvin looked at data on more than 13,000 people in a long-running U.S. heart disease study. The study began in the 1980s, and along the way has recorded valuable data from participants, including diabetes test data.

Selvin’s group analyzed that data, and reported that a positive result for glucose and HbA1c from just a single blood sample can confirm type 2 diabetes.

This could change care, “potentially allowing a major simplification of current clinical practice guidelines,” Selvin said in a university news release. “Doctors are already doing these [glucose and HbA1c] tests together — if a patient is obese, for example, and has other risk factors for diabetes, the physician is likely to order tests for both glucose and HbA1c from a single blood sample.

“It’s just that the guidelines don’t clearly let you use the tests from that one blood sample to make the initial diabetes diagnosis,” she explained.

Diabetes is treatable, but about 3 million Americans with the disease don’t know they have it.

“I’m hoping that these results will lead to a change in the clinical guidelines when they are revised in early 2019, which could make identifying diabetes a lot more efficient in many cases,” Selvin said.

Diabetes experts welcomed the findings.

“Diabetes moves fast, and the cost of diabetes has increased more than 20 percent since 2012,” noted Dr. Robert Courgi. The new study “helps us move quicker to treat diabetes,” he said.

“By diagnosing diabetes quicker, we can improve outcomes,” said Courgi, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. “The current standard is to delay diagnosis with repeat office visits and blood work. Now we can educate the patient sooner and start treatment earlier to prevent complications of diabetes such as heart attack, dialysis and amputations.”

Dr. Gerald Bernstein coordinates the Friedman Diabetes Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed that quicker diagnosis could mean better treatment and outcomes for patients.

“The CDC reports that greater than 52 percent of the U.S. population has either clinical diabetes or prediabetes,” Bernstein noted. “Given these numbers, any abnormality of glucose should be regarded as sufficient reason to start preventative treatment with an education program, lifestyle change and first-line medication such as metformin.”

According to Bernstein, if only one diagnostic test were needed, “this would mean that a follow-up visit would be a look at the treatment benefits — rather than a confirmation of an abnormal glucose.”

The study was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source: HealthDay