Higher levels of stress linked to type 2 diabetes

Research finds that a link may exist between type 2 diabetes and a weakened ability to recover from stress.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) analysed the biological systems of 140 patients with type 2 diabetes, exploring whether they experienced a level of chronic stress higher than average.
Cortisol and type 2 diabetes
Lead researcher Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at UCL, found the patients with type 2 diabetes struggled to bring down their cholesterol, heart rate and blood pressure when responding to stress.
The type 2 diabetes participants also had higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their blood, and IL-6, a protein involved when the immune system responds to stress.
There was also a greater level of depressive and hostile symptoms displayed. Steptoe reported: “People with type 2 diabetes experienced more chronic stress exposure in terms of money concerns and neighbourhood problems.
“They were more depressed, more pessimistic about the future, and reported a lower sense of control over their lives.”
Is diabetes caused by stress?
The researchers concluded that the results do not reflect that the extra strain on the type 2 diabetes participants is either a consequence or cause of type 2 diabetes.
Although a link between type 2 diabetes and stress was found, the UCL team believe the focus should now be on the need to target chronic stress effects with new treatments.
This view was backed up by Donna Rya, RN, CDE, and manager of patient education programs on diabetes, smoking cessatio, and asthma at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.
“The study provides further evidence that patients with diabetes have biological differences to stress, and emphasizes the importance of treatment, referral, and patient education for stress reductio,” she said.

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