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Sitting too much may kill you in 14 ways

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Sitting too much may kill you even if you exercise regularly, according to an American Cancer Society study.

If you sit for six hours a day or more, your risk of dying early jumps 19 percent, compared with people who sit fewer than three hours, the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggests.

The study authors added, sitting may kill you in 14 ways, including: cancer; heart disease; stroke; diabetes; kidney disease; suicide; Parkinson’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease; nervous disorders; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD; lung disease; liver disease; peptic ulcer and other digestive disease; and musculoskeletal disorders.

“The simple message is that we should be moving more,” said lead researcher Alpa Patel, strategic director of the cancer society’s prevention study-3.

“The less sitting you do, the better it is for you,” she said, “Breaking up an hour of sitting with 2 minutes of standing or light activity can improve cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.”

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The study however couldn’t prove cause and effect, but it’s clear that Americans are spending more time in their seats — watching TV, working and playing on computers and smartphones. With age people sit more, and people with chronic disease spend even more sedentary time, the researchers noted.

An Australian study estimated that 90 percent of non-working time was sedentary, and that more than half of it was spent watching TV or sitting at computers.

For the study, Patel’s team collected data on nearly 128,000 men and women who were part of an American Cancer Society prevention study. At the start of the study, all were free of major chronic diseases. During 21 years of follow-up, nearly 49,000 people died.

It’s not clear why prolonged sitting is unhealthy, Patel said. It’s possible that people who spend a lot of time on the couch also have other unhealthy behaviors, such as excess snacking, she suggested.

In addition, prolonged sitting has been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure and insulin. Sitting has also been tied to inflammation caused by obesity.

These consequences might explain why sitting was linked with death from heart, liver and kidney disease, as well as cancer, diabetes and COPD, Patel said.

It’s less clear why death from suicide, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as nervous and musculoskeletal disorders, seems associated with sitting. For these, she said, it’s possible that the conditions themselves result in more sedentary time.

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The increased mortality risk differed by disease, ranging from 10 percent for cancer to 60 percent for musculoskeletal disease, Patel said.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn, said, “We have known for some time now that sitting for extended periods daily is injurious to health.”

He noted that this study links excessive sitting to an increased risk of dying early from an array of causes — everything from heart disease to suicide.

“Does this mean that sitting excessively increases suicide risk? That seems implausible,” Katz said. “Perhaps depressed people lack the motivation to get up and go out. But then again, we know that routine activity is important to mental health, so some contribution of sedentariness to the severity of depression is not out of the question.”

Even though more study is needed to figure out why sitting appears to boost the risk of early death, what to do about it is no mystery, he said.

With Agency Inputs

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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk

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A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.

According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.

The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

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“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.

Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

With Inputs from HealthDay

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