High blood sugar: What are the warning signs?
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On Wednesday, February 3, 2022, research published in the journal Diabetologia noted that “artificial light is available around the clock”. Jan-Frieder Harmsen and Professor Patrick Schrauwen, of Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, added that most people expose themselves to electrical light and light-emissive screens during the evenings. “Our objective was to compare metabolic responses to lighting conditions,” the authors stated.
There were 14 overweight insulin-resistant volunteers who were exposed to two 40-hour laboratory sessions with different 24-hour lighting protocols.
To elaborate, one laboratory condition involved volunteers who were exposed to electric bright light from 8am to 6pm.
The same group were then subjected to dim light from 6pm to 11pm, and darkness there after.
The other volunteer group, on the other hand, were subjected to dim light from 8am to 6pm and bright light during the evening.
Meal content and timing was kept constant between the two laboratory conditions.
Frequent blood samples were taken throughout the experiment, as well as body temperature readings.
The experiment revealed that exposure to bright light during the day led to lower blood glucose levels preceding dinnertime at 6pm – more so than those who were exposed to dim light during the day.
Additionally, those exposed to brighter evenings had higher blood sugar levels after dinner than those who were exposed to dimmer light.
To simplify, exposure to bright daytime lighting was associated with better blood sugar control.
Moreover, participants also burned more calories after the evening meal and overnight when the evening switched to dimmed lighting.
Professor Schrauwen said: “Many people live under suboptimal light conditions.
“Often the light in their houses or offices isn’t bright enough, and they are exposed to light at night from their computers, and so on.
“We are quite convinced that all these factors contribute to the development of diabetes.
“It’s not only eating too much or exercising too little, we think that this 24-hour culture is a major factor.”
This may come as bad news for those who regularly do shift work and people who work throughout the night.
There are ways, however, to help minimise your risk of diabetes if you are restricted by unsocial working conditions.
For instance, Diabetes UK – a leading blood sugar charity – recommends exercise as a “key” way to mitigate the risk of type 2 diabetes.
“Even moving a little more makes a big difference,” the charity emphasised.
Getting your heart pumping that little bit faster for 30 minutes daily can do wonders for your health.
Examples can include a brisk walk, jogging, swimming, and cycling.
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