A new study published in The Lancet suggests that some video streaming services, such as Netflix, can cause health problems for patients with diabetes.
Dr. Stephen Whelan, a professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Alberta, says that while video streaming and other electronic media can be used safely, the problem of video transmission could be more severe for patients than those using the services.
“This is a study that says video streaming can lead to problems in patients with chronic disease,” he says.
Whelan and colleagues used data from a database of more than 15 million people who were diagnosed with diabetes from 2002 to 2011.
They then compared the health outcomes of people who had used the streaming service or other electronic video-on-demand service, such like Netflix, to those who had not.
“People with diabetes who were watching Netflix or other video streaming had lower levels of insulin resistance and glucose tolerance than those who were not,” Whelen says.
“The difference was even more pronounced for those who received the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.”
For people with diabetes, watching television can lead some to overdo it, with people bingeing, Wheleng says.
“I have had patients who binge drink and then the next day they start having symptoms of hyperglycemia,” he adds.
“These symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.”
Whelen and colleagues note that while bingeing and hyperglycemic symptoms can be caused by the same thing, they can also be due to the same problem.
“If you binge watch, then you could be doing something that’s causing insulin resistance,” Whellen says, noting that if a person is already insulin resistant, the chances of developing type 2 are higher.
“What we know from this is that the longer that a person binge, the more likely they are to be insulin resistant.”
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Should video streaming be banned for people with type 2 and other diseases?
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Read more about the study here.