Equalibras has been out and about to find the latest news, reviews and updates from the world of diabetes and prediabetes.
Each week we will deliver all that you need to know to live a healthy lifestyle and to prevent, manage or live with Type 2 diabetes.
This week’s headline story explores the connection between the lack of sleep and irregular sleep patterns in the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Could lack of sleep lead to Type 2 diabetes?
An investigation undertaken by the BBC has shown that people, especially the young, are experiencing lack of sleep due to the overuse of mobile technology at night. Now, a study undertaken by the University of Glasgow and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that irregular sleep patterns in people who are genetically overweight could increase the risk of developing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.Read More
The findings, based on data from the UK Biobank, emphasise that while genetics have a large role to play in obesity, lifestyle also plays an important role.
Researchers looked at the effects of abnormal sleeping habits such as short sleep duration (fewer than seven hours sleep a night) and long sleep duration (more than 9 hours sleep a night) along with daytime napping and shift work.
The study is the first of its kind to examine the interactions of sleeping habits and genes with obesity. It found that in people with high genetic risk for obesity, both short sleep durations and long sleep durations further increased risk of carrying excess weight, compared with those who slept for normal durations (between seven and nine hours every night).
Long sleepers with high genetic risk of obesity were about four kilograms heavier, and short sleepers were about two kilograms heavier, than those with similarly high genetic obesity risk with normal sleep durations. In contrast, there was no clear link between sleep duration and body weight in those with a low genetic risk of obesity.
The negative effect of abnormal sleep on someone already predisposed to obesity happened irrespective of diet, health concerns or socio-demographic factors.
Dr Jason Gill, from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: “These data show that in people with high genetic risk for obesity, sleeping for too short or too long a time, napping during the day, and shift work appears to have a fairly substantial adverse influence on body weight. However, the influence of adverse sleep characteristics on body weight is much smaller in those with low genetic obesity risk – these people appear to be able to ‘get away’ with poorer sleep habits to some extent.”
The study also provides evidence that the association between genetic susceptibility to obesity and actual body weight is affected by other sleep characteristics including: napping during the day, shift work and nightshift work.
The authors suggest that these findings make a case for further intervention studies to determine the benefits of healthier sleeping habits, particularly in individuals genetically susceptible to obesity.
Dr Carlos Celis said: “It appears that people with high genetic risk for obesity need to take more care about lifestyle factors to maintain a healthy bodyweight. Our data suggest that sleep is another factor which needs to be considered, alongside diet and physical activity.”
The study, ‘Sleep characteristics modify the association between genetic predisposition to obesity and anthropometric measurements in 119,679 UK Biobank participants’, is published in the AJCN. The work is supported by the UK Biobank.
Teens with Type 2 diabetes more likely to experience complications
Young people with Type 2 diabetes are much more likely to show signs of complications from the disease than those who have Type 1 diabetes, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed.Read More
The study included 1,746 young people with Type 1 diabetes and 272 with Type 2 diabetes. They were treated in five different locations in the United States between 2002 and 2015. The average age of the those with Type 1 diabetes was 18, and three-quarters were white. For those with Type 2 diabetes, the average age was 22, and only about one-quarter were white. Both groups had diabetes for about eight years. Their blood glucose levels were similar.
The researchers found that 19.9 per cent of the Type 2 group had early signs of possible kidney disease, as did 5.8 per cent of those with Type 1 diabetes. The investigators also found that 9.1 per cent of those with Type 2 diabetes had early signs of retinopathy, as did 5.6 per cent of the Type 1 group. Arterial stiffness was seen in 47.4 per cent of those with Type 2 diabetes and 11.6 per cent with Type 1 diabetes. In addition, 21.6 per cent of those with Type 2 diabetes and 10.1 per cent of those with Type 1 diabetes had hypertension.
Lead author Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, said: "The one big difference in the kids with Type 1 and Type 2 was obesity. When we controlled the data for obesity, there was no longer an excess of complications for Type 2 diabetes, the one bright spot in the findings was that the complications were mostly in the ‘early or subclinical’ stages.”
Repurposed drug prevents Type 2 diabetes in at-risk patients
A new study undertaken by Imperial College London has found that a weight loss drug can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 80 per cent.
The drug, which increases the number of appetite-supressing hormones produced by the gut, was tested on overweight people with ‘prediabetes’. The condition is characterised by slightly increased blood sugar levels. Prediabetes often leads to Type 2 diabetes when untreated.Read More
Prediabetes affects one in ten people in the UK, and progresses into diabetes in five to ten per cent of patients within ten years. Prediabetes is curable with exercise and a healthier diet but it is significantly harder to treat once it progresses into diabetes. Both conditions are strongly linked to early death and poor health outcomes like nerve damage, blindness and amputation.
Now, obesity expert Professor Carel le Roux from Imperial College London and colleagues have found that a drug already used for obesity and diabetes can help to prevent progression into diabetes when combined with diet and exercise. It could even cure patients of prediabetes altogether.
The researchers recruited 2,254 obese adults with prediabetes at 191 research sites in 27 countries worldwide. After splitting participants into two groups, they studied whether adding daily self-administered injections of liraglutide to diet and exercise helped to prevent progression into diabetes, compared to diet and exercise alone.
After three years, the researchers found that the patients given liraglutide were 80 per cent less likely to develop diabetes than those in the other group. In 60 per cent of those patients, prediabetes was reversed and patients returned to healthy blood sugar levels.
Of the patients who did go on to develop diabetes, those who were given liraglutide took nearly three times longer to develop the disease than those in the other group. In addition, liraglutide was linked to greater sustained weight loss after three years, with those on liraglutide losing 7 per cent body weight compared to 2 per cent body weight in the other group.
Co-author Professor le Roux, from Imperial’s Department of Medicine, said: “These groundbreaking results could pave the way for a widely used, effective and safe drug to reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes in 80 per cent of at-risk people. This could improve the health of the population and save millions on healthcare spending.”
Professor le Roux added that the drug seems to work by mimicking the action of a naturally-produced hormone that suppresses appetite, called GLP-1. This compound is released in response to food and interacts with the brain’s hypothalamus to suppress appetite.
However, previous studies have found that many obese people produce less of this hormone, which may lead to them over-eating. Liraglutide mimics the effects of GLP-1, essentially doing the hormone’s job to regulate appetite.
Professor le Roux said: “Liraglutide promotes weight loss by activating brain areas that control appetite and eating, so that people feel fuller sooner after meals and their food intake is reduced. Although liraglutide’s role in weight loss is well known, this is the first time it has been shown to essentially reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes, albeit with the help of diet and exercise.”
Liraglutide is already being used to manage weight and diabetes but it is expensive and not yet widely available in the UK. However, future studies could help develop a test for GLP-1 deficiency, to ensure the drug is given only to those who would benefit. Alternatively, patients could undergo a 12-week trial where the drug is stopped if there is no improvement within that time.
Food industry needs to do more to combat obesity and Type 2 diabetes says UK cancer charity
New figures reveal that at least 79 million ready meals and 22 million fast-food and takeaway meals are eaten weekly by adults in the UK, according to estimates by Cancer Research UK.
These findings highlight the need for the food industry to cut the calories, sugar and fat in convenience foods to reduce the unhealthy effects of the UK’s takeaway and ready meal culture.Read More
The report, based on a YouGov survey, found that young adults aged 18-24 are more likely to rely on convenience meals and are seven times more likely to indulge in fast food and takeaways at least once a week compared to the over 65s.
The report also found that men were more likely than women to eat convenience food rather than make meals at home.
It’s estimated that adults in England consume an extra 200-300 calories every day, which is around the same calorie content as two packets of salted crisps.
Regularly consuming fast food and ready meals, which tend to have a high calorie content and higher levels of fat and sugar, increases the risk of weight gain and obesity.
Obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes and is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking. Obesity is linked to thirteen types of cancer including bowel, breast and pancreatic.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said: “These figures show that ‘grab and go’ foods and a growing appetite for takeaways and ready meals are helping to propel us towards an epidemic of larger waistlines and increased cancer risk.
“The whole food industry needs to step up and commit to working with government to cut the amount of fat and sugar in our food. This would make it that bit easier for all of us to become healthier and reduce our cancer risk.”