Type 2 Diabetes Is Likelier To Appear In Lonely People (Study)

Socially isolated people have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study suggests.

People who do not have an active social life and choose to remain isolated have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study found.

Researchers from Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands focused on 2861 men and women between the ages of 40 and 75 years to pinpoint which aspects of social isolation play a role in the development of the disease.

They compared a wide array of social network characteristics to standard glucose metabolism, pre-diabetes, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Based on their assessment, the researchers devised a questionnaire for the participants.

The results showed that being socially active is beneficial to reducing the risk of contracting the condition. Women who didn’t go to clubs or attended other social groups had a 60 percent higher chance of pre-diabetes and 112 percent higher chance of type 2 diabetes. Men had a 42 percent higher risk of developing the condition.

“As men living alone seem to be at a higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, they should become recognized as a high-risk group in health care.” States co-author of the study, Miranda Schram.

Schram adds that social network size and participation in social activities may eventually be used as indicators of diabetes risk.

Another factor that could lead to contracting the condition was the lack of practical and emotional support related to work and health. This was associated with newly and previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes in men and women but not in pre-diabetes.

Stephanie Brinkhues, the lead author of the study, notes that establishing a framework for social network characteristics can, in turn, help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

While the study builds a strong case for diabetes development in lonely people, social isolation has been known to affect other health areas. This might diminish its importance in causing diseases.

The study was published in the journal, BMC Public Health.

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