Chronic stress linked to onset of type 2 diabetes

Wed, 30 Oct 2013
A new Indian study has found further evidence that psychological stress plays a significant role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Doctors at the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi analysed stress levels of 500 people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and compared with those of 500 non-diabetic patients, all of whom were aged 30 and above.

Patients who had low glucose tolerance levels (or glucose intolerance) indicating type 2 diabetes displayed higher chronic stress levels and poor capacity to cope with stress.

"Stress hormone levels, measured as the human body's hormonal response to stress was also found to be higher in people diagnosed with diabetes," Dr S. V. Madhu, lead author of the study, said.

"Hormones associated with stress like cortisol and catecholamines were found to be altered or disturbed in people who had low glucose tolerance levels."

Dr Madhu, professor and head of the endocrinology and metabolism department of Delhi's UCMS, added that certain pathways in the brain associated with stress were also found to be activated in patients with diabetes.

According to the professor, this study marks the first time researchers in India have established direct evidence that shows stress has "a clinically significant role in the expression of human diabetes", and is also the first time that different stress scales have been used to characterise chronic psychological stress and evaluate its role in development of type 2 diabetes.

Following on from the findings, new study has been launched by the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSD to examine whether yoga and a daily dose of fenugreek can be used in the long term to help people manage or reduce their stress levels and thus lower the likelihood of type 2 in high-risk individuals.
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