Diabetes Prevention

Lockdown Effect: Has Your Sedentary Lifestyle Given You Prediabetes in This Pandemic?

Debjani M Arora ,
August 2021

Let’s do a quick reality check: Have you started to spend around 12-13 hours at your desk being glued to your laptop screen because of this lockdown? Yes? Ok, let’s keep this going.

  • Do you get up to take a break or a stroll for 5-10 minutes every two hours?
  • Do you go for a run/jog/gym (do home workouts) and spend at least 30 minutes exercising after work?
  • Do you make it a point to eat healthy and avoid having chips, cookies, and junk at your desk?
  • Do you make it a point to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day?
  • You did not allow work from home to make a dent in your healthy habits?

Have you answered ‘NO’ to most or all of these questions above? If yes, then you might be in some trouble. And we mean it. Answering no to most of these questions means, your life revolves around too much sitting, reclining and lying down with little or no exercise at all a.k.a a sedentary lifestyle. So, you are living a sedentary lifestyle that will harm you in ways beyond your realisation.

Why is a sedentary lifestyle dangerous?

Studies suggest that low physical activity levels are associated with higher blood sugar levels even in adults who fall in a healthy weight category and BMI range. Sounds strange? But this is backed with research. Too much sitting and lying down with almost negligible physical activity can up your prediabetes risk.

Prediabetes is a condition where your sugar levels remain raised but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If ignored, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and other related complications.

The recent pandemic and the work from home scenario has thrown our lives off track and made it difficult to keep up with our fitness goals. So, it is not surprising that the number of people suffering from prediabetes and type 2 diabetes has seen an upward curve during the pandemic, all thanks to the sedentary lifestyle we had to embrace.

This also means that just reducing weight and maintaining a healthy BMI is not enough; you need to give your body a good workout to stay away from the clutches of various lifestyle diseases and illnesses – cardiovascular diseases, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and more.

Sedentary lifestyle and prediabetes risk: the link

Studies have confirmed that a sedentary lifestyle can be an independent risk factor for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The reason: inactivity makes your cells work harder to absorb glucose or the beta cells to make insulin. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to a high proportion of fat to lean muscle, typically more than 25 per cent body fat in males and 35 per cent in females. Sitting for too long (more than seven hours or so) can lead to metabolic syndrome – increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels – even in healthy weight individuals. All of these can increase the risk of prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and related complications if not controlled on time.

Going by the current scenario, work from home has added more hours to sitting at one place with fewer coffee breaks and water cooler talks. Even if it has increased productivity, it has restricted movement. So, for people who exercised regularly and kept a check on their waistlines, sitting made it challenging to stay healthy and increased the chances of a prediabetes diagnosis.

The catch: Since we have a perception that weight gain and abdominal obesity are the risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, we ignore the fact that sitting is an independent risk factor that can do more damage. So, many times it comes as a shock when a lean, fitter person is diagnosed with prediabetes.

The fact that we need to keep in mind is that: diabetes also runs in the family. So, if your parents or siblings are suffering from the same, be on guard with your health, especially if you have been leading a sedentary life. A February 2013 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Australian survey) found that getting 30 minutes of exercise every day is not enough if you are sitting for more than four hours at a stretch.

Prediabetes symptoms: Cues to watchout for

Even if you are lean, fit and try to eat healthy at mealtimes, your lifestyle can up your risk of prediabetes. The trouble is prediabetes is a silent condition, and often there are no symptoms of the same. However, there are a few signs that can indicate high blood sugar levels.

  • Dark or pigmented skin on certain body parts, like the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excess hunger
  • Fatigue and weariness
  • Blurry vision

But these symptoms are usually brushed off as they seem unthreatening in the beginning. So, if the current pandemic has made you a desk jockey, it is better to get a prediabetes risk test done at the earliest to check your health status. Unfortunately, most of the time, prediabetes is diagnosed accidentally during a routine blood test.

But now, take charge of your life. Unfortunately, every year 15-20% of people with prediabetes progress to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle can help delay the onset of diabetes and live a diabetes-complication free life for longer – one that is free from medication as well. Use our prediabetes risk calculator to assess your health status in just 2 minutes.

Get the help you deserve

If you have prediabetes, don’t worry, it is possible to control prediabetes and stop its progression to type 2 diabetes. However, a personalised and scientific approach is necessary. At Fitterfly, we have designed a digital therapeutic program for diabetes and prediabetes management – Diabefly Pro.

At Diabefly Pro, a team of specialists, including – a nutritionist, a certified physiotherapist and a clinical psychologist, help you to achieve individual health goals with tailor-made diet and exercise plans. In addition, regular counselling helps to align your goals and sustain them lifelong feasibly. Our coaches work in tandem with your doctor’s prescription and take into account every minute detail through the Fitterfly Wellness App and a CGMS device to track your diet and lifestyle and come up with nutrition plans and lifestyle modifications to help reverse prediabetes.

To know more about how Diabefly Pro and how it can help you smartly take control of your prediabetes, visit our website www.fitterfly.com/prediabetes or speak to one of our counsellors on 022 48971077 (Ext 1)

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