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Is work stress linked to diabetes?

In a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers looked at stress levels reported in civil servants over a 14-year period.

Participants answered questions about their health and also had two physical examinations.The researchers found that those people who most often reported stress were most likely to have a set of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, which included abdominal obesity, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure.Factors such as social class, smoking, high alcohol consumption and lack of exercise were all recorded as part of the study.

Although the exact link is unclear, scientists think one possible explanation may be that chronic stress reduces biological resistance and disturbs the body’s physiological balances. 

Roopinder Brar, Care Advisor, at Diabetes UK said:"This study is very interesting and confirms what we already know, that factors such as poor diet, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and physical inactivity put individuals more at risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

"The influence of work stress has been known to increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure and heart disease which are factors for diabetes.

"People with diabetes have a higher chance of developing certain health problems, including heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, circulation problems, nerve damage, and damage to kidney and eyes.

"Diabetes UK always encourages people to lead a healthy and active life to reduce the chances of developing diabetes."

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