Cancer is now the top cause of death if you have diabetes.

Adapted from Cancer replaces heart disease and stroke as leading cause of death in people with diabetes. Pearson-Stuttard J et al. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 4 Feb 2021 and Six adiposity markers predict incidence and mortality for 24 cancers. Parra-Soto S et al BMC Med 11 Jan 2021

People with type one and two diabetes have been told for decades that cardiovascular disease in the form of heart attacks and strokes are the most likely way that the Grim Reaper is likely to call on them. New research however shows that cancer is now the leading cause of death.

The study was conducted by Imperial College London. Between 2001 and 2018 the cardiovascular causes have been superceded by cancer as the main diagnosis causing death in a total of nearly 314 thousand people.

Also, the death rates are a third less than previously, so diabetics were living longer, and dying of cancer instead of cardiovascular disease. Other causes that were still fatal included dementia, liver disease and respiratory disease. These were more common in the diabetic population compared to the non diabetic population.

People with diabetes still tended to die at earlier ages than the general population, but the gap is narrowing. Dementia and liver disease were twice as high compared to the general population for instance.

The lead author Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard said, ” Improvements in risk factors such as smoking and blood pressure, along with improvements in medical treatments have contributed to large falls in deaths from heart disease and stroke. The improvements have been even greater in those with diabetes. This has resulted in vascular conditions accounting for around 25 percent of all deaths in those with diabetes compared to 45 per cent 20 years ago.”

” In contrast improvements in cancer death rates have been much more modest, with improvements in those with diabetes lagging behind the general population. Added to this, the UK lags behind the EU in terms of cancer survival rates.”

The authors want people to know that if they have diabetes they have higher rates of cancer, dementia and liver disease compared to the general population.

If you are overweight the cancers that you are more likely to get, in no particular order, are:

Stomach, oesophageal, gallbladder, liver, kidney, pancreas, bladder, colorectal, endometrial, uterine, breast, lymphatic, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

My comment: Although this is not the most cheerful of posts, the good news is that diabetics are living long enough to die of diseases of older age such as cancer and dementia.

The Sitting Rising Test

Now get up – no hands, no knees!

Have you heard of this? The sit and stand test is all about sitting down and standing up again from a cross-legged position.

Simple, huh? Not so fast… The minute you use your hands, sides of your legs, knees or elbows to help you up, you lose points. There’s a maximum score of ten (five for getting down, and five for getting up again).

Why is this important or relevant? The test measures flexibility, strength and balance. A study was carried out by the Brazilian physician, Claudio Gil Araujo. He uses the test with athletes, but also on patients. He assessed some 2,000 patients aged 51 to 80. People who scored fewer than eight points on the test were twice as likely to die within the next six years than people who got a higher score. Those who only managed three points or fewer were more than five times as likely to die within the same period, compared to people who scored more than eight points.

Each point increase in the SRT (sitting rising test) is associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality from all causes.

So, how do you do it?

  • Stand on the floor in your bare feet with a clear space around you.
  • Without leaning on anything, lower yourself to a sitting position on the floor
  • Now, stand back up without using your hands, forearms, the sides of your legs or your knees.

Basically, you get five points for lowering yourself down without using hands, forearms, sides of legs or knees, and five points for coming up without. You also get a minus point for putting your hand on your leg. If you lose your balance, you lose half a point.

Darn it, I thought I had this test covered. Another blogger had written about it, and I realised the version I’ve been doing regularly isn’t the full bhuna. I don’t use my hands or arms, but I do use the sides of my legs to get myself up again. Sit down cross-legged and it seems impossible to get up without using some other part of the body.

There’s a video on YouTube that shows the test being done correctly (by a young whippersnapper of an athlete).

Have you done the SRT and what was your score?