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Healthy Social Life Tied to Physical Health

Monthly archive for December 2017

A Healthy Social Life Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

A Healthy Social Life Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

A Healthy Social Life Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

Studies over at Maastricht University in the Netherlands have shown a link between healthy social ties and it’s influence over mental and physical health.  Being socially active can actually reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes according to this study published in the BMC Public Health journal.

Study co-author Dr. Miranda Schram explains, “High-risk groups for type 2 diabetes should broaden their network and should be encouraged to make new friends, as well as become members of a club, such as a volunteer organization, sports club, or discussion group.  Men living alone seem to be at a higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, they should become recognized as a high-risk group in healthcare. In addition, social network size and participation in social activities may eventually be used as indicators of diabetes risk.”

Who Participated?

Medical data from 2,861 patients between 40 and 75 years of age were studied in The Maastricht Study, a research observing genetic and environmental risk factors  in the development of type 2 diabetes.  1,623 of these patients did not have diabetes, 430 did have prediabetes, 111 had recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and 697 had pre-existing diabetes.

Findings

A correlation was found between the patient’s sociability and how likely they were diagnosed with diabetes, which led researchers to this potential link.  The research team found participants who did not partake in group activities or associate with any social circles had a 60% higher risk of having pre-diabetes.  Women who did not participate in social activities were 112% more likely to have type 2 diabetes, while the men had a 42% higher chance.  Loss of friends or acquaintances also had a significant effect on developing type 2 diabetes, with each loss constituting a 12% increase in the chances of newly diagnosed diabetes.  Men living alone were found to have a 59% higher risk of pre-diabetes, 84% higher chance of recently diagnosed diabetes, and a 94% higher risk of a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes.  Finally, no links were found in cases in where women lived alone.

Cause and Effect

Although these findings are interesting, researchers note that the cause & effects found in this study can be reversed either way.  It may be that early pre-diabetic symptoms are the cause of low motivations to engage in social activities and not the other way around. “The study is cross-sectional in nature, and therefore, the possibility of reverse causality cannot be excluded,” researchers warn.

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If already diagnosed see here for diabetic supplies, we also work with Medicare.

Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol can be found in many consumables throughout our daily lives, mostly in social settings.  While not everyone drinks alcohol, there are those that do, especially with the holiday season approaching.  For people with diabetes, this can be a difficult time of the year navigating around feasts and alcoholic beverages.  While there is no real reason to drink alcohol, those doubtful should always discuss this matter with their doctor.

A little knowledge on how the human body deals with alcohol can help clear things up a bit.  Alcohol is treated more like a drug rather than a meal, so liver activity increases dramatically reducing over-all functionality.  This is detrimental if the liver must also handle waning blood glucose levels, in which case it will do so poorly as it will prioritize metabolizing alcohol first.  If you normally control blood glucose via healthy diet and exercise exclusively, a little alcohol in moderation should pose no problem.  If you are on any kind of medication things can get complicated though, and you run the risk of losing control of your blood glucose levels, especially on an empty stomach.

Pros & Cons

The unpredictable nature of alcohol can also prove difficult to determine an accurate health risk-assessment with any type of certainty.   Alcohol tolerance levels vary greatly from person to person and depend on many factors, leading to unmanageable blood glucose levels.  One of the factors for this occurrence may be better understood in a study out of Sweden, in where alcohol in rats sent large amounts of blood to beta cells in the pancreas leading to increased insulin secretion and thus lowering blood glucose levels. This is not always a bad thing though, as in the case of Type 2 diabetes where a high-carb meal can be combined with alcohol to mitigate hyperglycemia.  As another study in Israel found that a glass of an alcoholic beverage could be given to people with Type 2 diabetes along with their evening meals to reduce fasting blood glucose levels over a three month period.

Pros:

  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Lowered risk of stroke
  • Raise HDL levels (“good”) cholesterol
  • Lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevention of gallstones

Cons:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Higher risk of Cancer
  • Increased risk of Pancreatitis
  • Cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle)
  • Cirrhosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Miscarriage
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Accidents

Some people who should avoid alcoholic beverages altogether include people with a history of alcoholism, out of control diabetes, liver or pancreatic diseases, on medication or pregnant women.  Be responsible when drinking alcohol and and ask your doctor for additional advice if unsure about how much you could consume safely.

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