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Stress May Raise Men’s Diabetes Risk by Up to 45 Percent

Update Date: Feb 07, 2013 01:53 PM EST

Stress has been linked to various conditions, especially cardiovascular illnesses. However, it is not officially recognized to be a cause of diabetes. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, permanent stress increased the risk of diabetes by 45 percent.

The study was conducted by researchers over the course of 30 years.  The 7,494 men who were involved in the study received their first examination in the time period between January 1970 and March 1973. The men were between the ages of 47 and 56. From the time of their first examination, men were tracked until 2008 or their death, whichever came first.

When the study began, men were asked a range of questions, including ones about their stress level. The men were asked to rank their stress level on a 6-point scale, using factors like anxiety, irritation and difficulties with sleep that could be traced to problems at work or at home. Using that criteria, researchers determined that 15.5 percent of men reported that they had permanent stress. That stress could stem from issues at home or at work, and had been in a problem for the past one to five years.

Over the course of the study, 6,828 men had no prior history of coronary artery disease, diabetes or stroke. These were the men chosen for analysis. Over the course of the study, 899 of them developed diabetes. The study found that men who had permanent stress for 45 percent more likely than men with periodic stress to develop type 2 diabetes. The correlation remained clear even as researchers controlled for various factors, like age, blood pressure medication, body mass index, physical inactivity, socioeconomic background or systolic blood pressure.

"Today, stress is not recognized as a preventable cause of diabetes," study author and leader of the study Masuma Novak said in a statement. "As our study shows that there is an independent link between permanent stress and the risk of developing diabetes, which underlines the importance of preventive measure."

Currently, the World Health Organization reports that the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight, to perform regular physical activity and to avoid smoking.

The study was published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.

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