Metabolic syndrome


Roundup: Metabolic Syndrome’s Link to Higher Cancer Risk; 2,200 Daily Steps is Starting Point for Health Benefits; and More News

Worsening Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Higher Risk of Some Cancers, New Study Finds

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol. In previous studies, such metabolic dysfunction in adults has been strongly associated with obesity and considered a potential risk factor for some cancers.

New research indicates that people with “persistent and worsening metabolic syndrome” may face a higher risk of developing various types of cancer, states a news release on the new study. The findings, published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, were based on data from 44,115 adults in China with an average age of 49 years.

After measuring their metabolic health over four years, researchers then tracked who developed cancer over nearly ten years. Study participants with metabolic syndrome had a 30 percent increased risk of developing any cancer in the subsequent years, the study showed.

“Participants with persistently high metabolic syndrome scores and concurrent chronic inflammation had the highest risks of developing breast, endometrial, colon, and liver cancer,” states the news release. The risk of  kidney cancer was primarily observed in participants with “persistently high scores but without chronic inflammation.”

The study’s conclusion: “Trajectories of metabolic syndrome scores are associated with the occurrence of cancers, especially breast, endometrial, kidney, colorectal, and liver cancers, emphasizing the importance of long-term monitoring and evaluation of metabolic syndrome.”

Individuals with metabolic syndrome already carry an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, according to background information provided by researchers.

“This research suggests that proactive and continuous management of metabolic syndrome may serve as an essential strategy in preventing cancer,” said senior author Han-Ping Shi, MD, PhD, of Capital Medical University, in Beijing, in a statement. “Our study can guide future research into the biological mechanisms linking metabolic syndrome to cancer, potentially resulting in targeted treatments or preventive strategies.”

Daily Steps Above 2,200 Can Lower Risk of Early Death, Heart Disease -- With 10,000 Being Ultimate Goal

Researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia, have confirmed that 10,000 daily steps can reduce the risk of early death and heart disease. But there’s a surprising component to the findings of the new study: Any amount of daily steps above 2,200 was linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular risk.

The study of over 72,000 people, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that 9,000 ti 10,000 steps a day was linked to reduced risk of death (39 percent) and cardiovascular disease (21 percent) -- regardless of how much remaining time was spent sedentary – either sitting or lying down while awake.

Previous studies have shown a link between a higher daily step count and lower levels of death and heart disease, while separate studies have linked high levels of sedentary behavior with increased health risks. “However, this is the first to objectively measure, via wrist-worn wearables, if daily steps could offset the health risks of high sedentary behavior,” states a news release by University of Sydney researchers. .

Lead author and research fellow, Matthew Ahmadi, M.D., said in a statement: “This is by no means a get-out-of-jail card for people who are sedentary for excessive periods of time. However, it does hold an important public health message that all movement matters, and that people can and should try to offset the health consequences of unavoidable sedentary time by upping their daily step count.”

Researchers reviewed data on 72,174 individuals (average age 61; 58 percent female) from the UK Biobank study, a large-scale biomedical database in the U.K. Participants wore an accelerometer device on their wrist for seven days to measure their physical activity. The data were used to estimate daily step count and time spent sedentary.

Researchers concede this is an observational study that cannot establish direct cause and effect. However, “the large sample size and long follow-up allowed the risk of bias,” the news release states..

Adjustments to “eliminate biases” included leaving out participants with poor health, who were underweight or had a health event within two years of follow-up. Researchers also took into account factors “such as age, sex, ethnicity, education, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet and parental history of CVD and cancer.”

New Study: Insufficient Sleep Over Time May Raise Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Poor sleep health – or getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of  quality sleep every night – has been linked to a higher risk of numerous chronic conditions. In the latest study, poor sleep is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden used data from one of the largest population databases in the world, the UK Biobank, which chronicles the well-being of nearly half a million participants from the U.K. who responded to questions on health and lifestyle. They followed the participants for more than ten years and found that a sleep duration of between three and five hours was linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the study published in JAMA Network Open

“In contrast, healthy eating habits led to a lower risk of developing the disease, but even people who ate healthily but slept less than six hours a day were still at higher risk of type 2 diabetes,” states a news release on the study.

Early on, participants answered questionnaires about their dietary habits and about how many hours they slept on a daily basis, including naps. A healthy diet included consuming two or more pieces of fruit daily, two or more servings of fish weekly, or 4 or more tablespoons of vegetables per day. 

“Our results are the first to question whether a healthy diet can compensate for lack of sleep -- in terms of the risk of type 2 diabetes,” explains Christian Benedict, associate professor and sleep researcher at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at Uppsala University, and leading researcher behind the study, in a statement. “They should not cause concern, but instead be seen as a reminder that sleep plays an important role in health.”

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