Work-related stress can raise diabetes risk by 45 percent, study says

Individuals who experience high levels of workplace stress are about 45 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who have less taxing jobs, according to research published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

When these people also feel like they have little control over the tasks they perform at work, diabetes risk is higher than normal, the researchers reported.

More studies are beginning to show the impact that lifestyle and environmental factors have on diabetes risk - a study published earlier this year found that night workers have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who work during the day.

Prevention of stress-related disorders

According to study author Prof. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, about one in five people are affected by high levels of mental stress at the workplace. When combined with the inability to have decision-making power, the stress can lead to increased disease risk, regardless of other factors such as obesity, gender, or age.

The study included more than 5,300 employed individuals between 29 and 66 who were part of the MONICA/KORA cohort study in Germany. At the study's beginning, none of the participants had diabetes. After an average of 13 years, nearly 300 people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Work-related stress was pinpointed as a high risk factor independent of other common risk factors.

Given that work-related stress can play a key role in the development of widespread diseases in Germany, the researchers said, new approaches in diagnosing and treating diabetes should include stress assessments.

"In view of the huge health implications of stress-related disorders, preventive measures to prevent common diseases such as diabetes should therefore also begin at this point," Ladwig said.

Source: Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health

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