(NaturalNews) Men who live in a permanent state of stress are 45 percent more likely to develop Type II diabetes than men who are not stressed, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
The analysis was conducted as part of a long-term study launched in the 1970s to monitor the health of 7,500 men from Gothenburg, Sweden, who were born between 1915 and 1920. As part of the initial interview, all study participants rated their stress level on a six-point scale based on factors including anxiety, irritation, and trouble sleeping due to conditions at home or at work.
Of those men, 6,288 were included in the current analysis because they had no prior history of diabetes, coronary artery disease or stroke. During the 35-year followup, 899 of those men developed Type II diabetes.
At the beginning of the study, a total of 15.5 percent of participants reported that they were living under permanent stress due to their home or work life, or had lived in such a state during the past five years. These men were found to have a 45 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than the men who said they had not had any stress, or that their stress had been only occasional rather than chronic. This link remained statistically significant even after the researchers adjusted for the potentially confounding diabetes risk factors of age, body mass index (a measure of obesity), exercise levels, socioeconomic status, blood pressure and whether the participants took blood pressure drugs.
Another reason to cut back on stress
Although not previously linked to diabetes, chronic stress has been shown to disrupt the functioning of the digestive, reproductive and immune systems. It can produce or exacerbate headaches, migraines, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Over time, it even causes your brain to shrink.
Stress can also have a destructive effect on a person's social relationships, finances, and emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Fortunately, stress can be actively managed and reduced with some serious effort. Proven stress-reduction techniques include exercise, massage, meditation and relaxation techniques, yoga and tai chi. Psychotherapy or other techniques to help a sufferer make lifestyle changes can also be helpful.
"Today, stress is not recognized as a preventable cause of diabetes" lead researcher Masuma Novak said.
"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[s]."
The most common and well-proven risk factor for Type II diabetes is obesity, and the best way to reduce your diabetes risk is to maintain a healthy weight and get in good cardiovascular health. Other than quitting smoking, the single best way to achieve that goal is to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of regular exercise. Properly applied, diet and exercise can often help people manage their cholesterol without the use of drugs.