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Low stress resistance leads to type 2 diabetes: study

Low stress resistance leads to type 2 diabetes: study - Featured Image

A recent study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) has found 18-year-old men with low stress resistance have a 50% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.

The population based study examined all 1,534,425 military conscripts in Sweden during 1969–1997 who underwent psychological assessment to determine stress resilience. They had to have had no previous diagnosis of diabetes.

They were followed up for type 2 diabetes from 1987–2012 with the maximum attained age being 62.

Related: Emergency doctors as stressed as soldiers

After adjusting for body mass index, family history of diabetes, and individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic factors, the research found 34,008 men had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The study found the 20% of men with the lowest resistance for stress were 51% more likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes than the 20% with the highest resistance to stress.

Authors Dr Casey Crump, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, and colleagues in Sweden and the USA admit lifestyle behaviours related to stress including smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity could be related to the increased risk of diabetes. The study also could not make any assertions about women as it only included male army cadets.

Related: MJA – Preventing type 2 diabetes: scaling up to create a prevention system

The authors conclude: “These findings suggest that psychosocial function and ability to cope with stress may play an important long-term role in aetiological pathways for type 2 diabetes. Additional studies will be needed to elucidate the specific underlying causal factors, which may help inform more effective preventive interventions across the lifespan.”

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