May 8, 2016

Are You On the Diabetes Couch?

If you are, and are medically able, get off the couch and exercise to the limit that is available to you. I know several people with type 2 diabetes living in a nursing home and are unable to walk, yet most of them exercise every day. Granted it is upper body exercise and light weight lifting, plus most are able use their wheel chairs to move themselves around at meal times and at other times.

Granted, a sedentary lifestyle may lead to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The researchers have correctly identified many of the factors that lead to type 2 diabetes, which has meant in the USA, at least, to slow the new cases of diabetes. There is still a lot of work to do, but at least we know that genetics, lifestyle, and environment have been linked with type 2 diabetes.

The further identification of modifiable risk factors continues to be a tool for prevention and some studies have shown that an over sedentary life can increase metabolic syndrome, weight gain, and insulin resistance.

This recent cross-sectional study investigated associations between total amount and patterns of sedentary behavior, metabolic syndrome and glucose metabolism. Participants were analyzed from the Maastricht Study, a prospective population-based cohort study of the pathophysiology, etiology and comorbidities of type 2 diabetes. Inclusion criteria mandated that all participants were between the ages of 40-75 and living in the southern Netherlands. They were recruited by means of mass media from municipal registries and diabetes registries.

This study took measures to adjust for confounding variables between study groups, but only followed patients for 1 week and could not adjust for the possibility that type 2 diabetes patients may be more sedentary due to poor health. Furthermore, by virtue of the study design, a causal relationship cannot be inferred. Though a longitudinal randomized clinical trial should be conducted to determine causation, this does not discount the findings of the current study, which has made a strong association between sedentary behavior and an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

This to me is not a valid study and does mean that more studies need to be done. Yes, this is one thing many of us with type 2 diabetes know that people need to avoid. Being sedentary is something that everyone that is like this hears repeatedly “get up and move.” This is said so often that people that have problems moving and are by necessity sedentary get tired of hearing.

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