Most commonly referred to as a ‘lifestyle disease’, diabetes has crawled its way across the globe affecting more than 300 million people.  While researchers are investing hugely to understand this disease more deeply, a recent study that surfaced in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine has cited that work-related stress can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes. High level of pressure at work supplemented by little control over the daily activities increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by almost 45 percent as reported in the study.

In view of the huge health implications of stress-related disorders, preventive measures to prevent common diseases such as diabetes should therefore also begin at this point,’ said professor Karl-Heinz Ladwig from Helmholtz Zentrum MAnchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health.Mental stress affects roughly one in five people in employment. The scientists examined data prospectively collected from more than 5,300 employed individuals aged between 29 and 66.

The study began with none of the participants having diabetes; however in the post observation period which covered a span of 13 years, almost 300 of them were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The increase of risk in work-related stress was identified independently of classic risk factors such as obesity, age or gender.

What is Type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes Type 2 is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Unlike people with Type 1 diabetes, people with Type 2 diabetes actually produce insulin; however, either their pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin adequately. This is called insulin resistance.

General risk factors
The risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
  • Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • High-fat diet
  • High alcohol intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity or being overweight

Onset of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Intensive lifestyle measures may reduce the risk by over half.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight is the number one risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Even modest weight loss can help prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing. To find out if you are overweight, you can use the body mass index (BMI) chart for adults or the same chart in metric. If you need to lose weight, losing as few as 10 lb (4.5 kg) to 20 lb (9.1 kg) can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly: Getting enough exercise lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Do activities that raise your heart rate. It is recommended that you should try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week.Walking groups or programs where you use a pedometer to count the number of steps you take in a day are great ways to start exercising and to stay motivated. If you have problems with the nerves in your legs and feet, your may want to choose activities that do not put any stress in these areas. If you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, using an exercise planning form may help you and your doctor or other health professional to create a personalized exercise program.
  • Eat healthy foods: Discipline yourself to eating a balanced diet, including whole grains, lean meat, and vegetables. Limit saturated fats. Limit alcohol. Limit calories in order to avoid gaining weight, or to help you lose weight. Reduce your intake of soft drinks, sugary foods, and junk food. Try to eat smaller meals more often in order to keep blood sugar levels within your target range. Eating more vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and healthy desserts can lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes.Eating a lot of sugary foods, fast foods, and red meat (especially processed red meat) and drinking a lot of soft drinks can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes.