Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Research shows that sedentary behaviour has become widespread over the past year, as the COVID-19 restrictions afflicted our daily lives. It has been proven, 600mg ibuprofen driving however, that prolonged sedentary behaviour can set the stage for a variety of so-called “sitting diseases”, including type 2 diabetes. Paul Ettlinger, GP at the London General Practice, explains the cost of prolonged sitting.
Surprisingly, the body becomes increasingly “agitated” as we stay sitting for long periods; although the position can help us recover from stress, scientists have shown our bodies are not built for such sedentary existence.
New figures by Ofcom last week suggested TV-watching habits escalated dramatically this year, with the nation’s adults spending an average of five hours and 40 minutes a day watching TV and online video content, up by 47 minutes, from 2019.
However, sedentary behaviour is nothing new; before the pandemic we sat for an average of eight hours 54 minutes a day, raising the risk of serious health complications.
Furthermore, a study – published in The Lancet – revealed that the World Health Organisation ranked Britain a lowly 46th out of 168 countries in its leagues table of fit countries.
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People who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time have a lower risk of early death. However, sitting for longer hours can cause a shift in the metabolism, creating insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes, when left untreated, can heighten the risk of other life-threatening illnesses, including heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
Paul Ettlinger explained that long working hours can have a detrimental effect on various aspects of health, including blood glucose.
However, he pointed out that women who sit for prolonged periods were at significantly greater risk of type 2 diabetes than men.
He said: “Studies have shown women were 63 percent higher risk if working over 45 hours compared to 35-40 hours over a 12-year period.
“If jobs are more physically demanding, stress of long hours leads to raised insulin resistance and abnormal hormones.”
A report, published in the European Heart Journal, showed that spending an extra two hours a day sitting was associated with approximately 2 percent higher average fasting blood sugar levels.
The researchers noted that replacing these two hours with movement was associated with a smaller waist circumference and plummeting blood sugar levels.
However, short bursts of activity in between prolonged periods of sitting may help significantly.
A study showed that people who sat for up to four hours, but exercised for just one hour a day, had up to 59 percent lower risk of mortality than those who sit still.
However, the detrimental effects of sitting are not limited to type 2 diabetes, as scientists have previously flagged, sedentary behaviour increases the risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation.
Ettlinger added: “Studies have shown that working long hours increases our risk of having abnormal heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation and therefore stroke.”
While prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with increased risk of several conditions and mortality, it remains unclear whether physical activity can reverse the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting.
Furthermore, the prevalence of such ‘sittting diseases’ places considerable financial burden on health care systems.
A 2019 analysis concluded that sitting for at least six hours a day costs the NHS £700 million annually.
Experts investigating the financial burden of sedentary behaviour revealed that sitting or lying down for a least six hours a day is behind £281 million of spending on type 2 diabetes.
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