towards a fifth wave of metabolic diseases?

By Pascale Santi and Sandrine Cabut

Posted today at 1:00 p.m.

Over the months, collateral damage from the Covid-19 pandemic has accumulated in patients with other pathologies, the price of the massive disorganization of care. But beyond that, is the prolonged disruption of our lifestyle – with, for many, more time spent sitting, less physical activity and weight gain – likely to trigger an outbreak of chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension (hypertension)?

“If we don’t stay active, we run the risk of creating another pandemic of ill health. The result of sedentary behavior ”, alerted, from November 2020, the director of health promotion at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Ruediger Krech. Strong data is still lacking, but several clues suggest that a time bomb may be setting off.



The introduction of cardiovascular and antidiabetic treatments – that is to say prescriptions corresponding to new patients – is in progress. “Marked increase” since early 2021, concludes the latest Epi-Phare report, scientific group formed by the French health insurance and the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM). The increase is 14.7% for antihypertensive drugs, 11% for antidiabetic drugs and 24% for statins – which treat excess cholesterol -, compared to the expected results. These benchmarks are calculated based on consumption figures for 2018 and 2019 and taking into account the foreseeable trend in the number of new patients.

No more sedentary lifestyle and snacking

“We have never seen such a significant increase in diabetes, worries Doctor Alain Weill, deputy director of Epi-Phare. There were less initiation of treatments at the start of the first confinement, then a catching-up towards the end of 2020, but, today, we are no longer in the catching-up. ” For doctor Jean-François Thébaut, vice-president of the Federation of diabetics, “Some of these people with early-stage diabetes may have missed the pre-treatment phase, where the doctor recommends being careful with physical activity and watching diet.”.

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In addition to anti-diabetic treatments, this recent increase in new prescriptions is explained by “The effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the decrease in basic physical activity, leisure time, the change in diet with more snacking. However, we know that physical activity is extremely effective in all cardiovascular pathologies and diabetes. It’s a warning signal ”, insists Alain Weill.

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