Type 2 diabetes can lead to significant health problems including heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure. Common factors that can increase the risk of developing the disease include obesity, diet, exercise, smoking or a family history of the disease. But a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology this week suggests that mentally draining jobs may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Researchers looked at the link between mentally tiring work and a diagnosis of diabetes in 70,000 women over a 22-year-period.
Three out of four women involved (75 per cent) were teachers and 24 per cent found their work very mentally tiring at the beginning of the study.
Researchers found that 21 per cent of women were more likely to develop type two diabetes if they found their jobs mentally tiring at the start of the study.
That was independent of typical risk factors including age, physical activity level, dietary habits, smoking status, blood pressure, family history of diabetes and BMI.
The team now plan to study how mentally tiring work affects patients with diabetes, including how they manage their treatment, their quality of life and the risks of diabetes-related complications.
The research may help to identify new approaches that could help improve the lives of patients living with diabetes.
Lead author Dr Guy Fagherazzi, of the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Inserm, France, said: “Although we cannot directly determine what increased diabetes risk in these women, our results indicate it is not due to typical type 2 diabetes risk factors.
“This finding underscores the importance of considering mental tiredness as a risk factor for diabetes among women.”
“Both mentally tiring work and type 2 diabetes are increasingly prevalent phenomena. What we do know is that support in the workplace has a stronger impact on work-related stress in women than men.
“Therefore, greater support for women in stressful work environments could help to prevent chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.”
Type 2 diabetes symptoms
Many people won’t realise they have the condition because symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.
The NHS lists the following symptoms to note:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
Type 2 diabetes treatment
You may be given diabetes medicines to help lower the amount of sugar in your blood.
But one of the best ways to control blood sugar and even prevent the condition is by limiting certain foods in your diet.
Experts advise you eat a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta.
You should also keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and make sure not to skip meals throughout the day.
More specifically, studies have shown eating a certain food which is popular in Japan can help lower a person’s blood sugar levels.