Stress at a young age increases risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent

Research published in the journal Diabetologia has found that stress management at a young age can significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life for males.

A low resistance to stress at age 18 can increase the likelihood of men developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime by 50 per cent, according to the study carried out by Dr Casey Crump with the Department of Medicine of Stanford University.

Stress and mental health issues can have a large impact on physiological health; the two are not so separate. Stress is thought to cause inflammatory reactions in the body, which can cause metabolic health issues, such as type 2 diabetes.

However, it has previously remained unknown whether stress at a young age can affect the risks of type 2 diabetes later in life, but this new research indicates that it can.

The population-based study looked at 1,534,425 military conscripts in Sweden, who compulsorily worked for the national service between 1969 and 1997. Data on their psychological stress resilience was compared to whether they developed diabetes later in their life, identified from outpatient and inpatient data from 1987-2012. This meant that the maximum age of the participants was 62 years of age.

34,008 of the men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Low stress resilience was associated with an increased risk of developing the disease, after the results were adjusted to account for differences in BMI and other factors.

Stress management is important for everyone, of all ages. It not only helps to reduce the impact of stress on mental health, but also physiological health.

Stress management techniques like mindfulness could be taught in schools, to help people deal with the stressors that people face from a young age.

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