Are stressed men more prone to developing type 2 diabetes?

by Barbara Hewitt on February 28, 2013

Are stressed men more prone to developing type 2 diabetes?

Are stressed men more prone to developing type 2 diabetes?

Men who suffer permanent stress have a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than men who reported no stress, scientists have found. A 35 year prospective follow up study of 7,500 men in Gothenburg, Sweden, found a strong link between stress and type 2 diabetes.

Since the 1970s, a large population based cohort study has been undertaken at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg to monitor the health of men born between 1915 and 1925. Using this unique material, researchers were now able to show that permanent stress significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Of the total sample, 6,828 men without any previous history of diabetes, coronary artery disease or stroke were analysed. A total of 899 of these men developed diabetes during the follow up.

Stress at baseline in this study was measured using a single item question in which they were asked to grade their stress level on a six point scale, based on factors such as irritation, anxiety and difficulties in sleeping, related to conditions at work or at home. A computer file of the study cohort was run against the Swedish national register on cause of death and the Swedish hospital discharge register.

At baseline, 15.5% of the men reported permanent stress related to conditions at work or home, either during the past one year or during the past five years. The results show that men who have reported permanent stress had a 45% higher risk of developing diabetes, compared with men who reported to have no or periodic stress. The link between stress and diabetes has been statistically significant, even after adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, physical inactivity, BMI, systolic blood pressure and use of blood pressure lowering medication.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “I have seen discussions about stress and high blood sugar many times, on the diabetes sites. My impression is that stress does cause high blood sugar for almost all diabetics. I do know, however, that stress does not have that effect on all diabetics.”

Compared with men with no stress or periodic stress, men with permanent stress were more likely to be from the low occupational class, physically inactive, smokers, have alcohol abuse problems, use anti-hypertensive medication and have lower systolic blood pressure levels. The study found that average age, BMI and serum cholesterol levels were similar in men with and without permanent stress.

‘Today, stress is not recognised as a preventable cause of diabetes. As our study shows there is an independent link between permanent stress and the risk of developing diabetes, which underlines the importance of preventive measures,’ said researcher Masuma Novak, who led the study.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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