Mentally Tiring Work Increases Diabetes Risk

There are several factors that can contribute to a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes including obesity, diet, exercise (or lack thereof), smoking and family history. And now, we can add mental tiring work to the list.  According to a study that was recently published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, women who find their jobs mentally tiring are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 

The study was done over the course of 22 years with 70,000 and performed by Dr. Guy Fagherazzi and other associates from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Inserm. Approximately 75% of the women who participated in the study were in the teaching profession, however, only about 24% believed that their job was mentally tiring. The study found that 21% of the 24% who believed that their job was mentally tiring were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. That is roughly 3,500 of the women who participated in the study. This is independent of the other risk factors normally associated with diabetes like age, physical activity level, dietary habits, smoking status, blood pressure, family history of diabetes and BMI.

Dr. Guy Fagherazzi comments, “Although we cannot directly determine what increased diabetes risk in these women, our results indicate it is not due to typical type 2 diabetes risk factors. This finding underscores the importance of considering mental tiredness as a risk factor for diabetes among women.”

What we can do with this information is unclear. Fagherazzi suggests that having more support for women in stressful jobs could help prevent chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. Since diabetes is a medical condition and workplaces are suppose to make accommodations, the impact of this study can be very influential on new accommodations available for women in the workplace. Fagherazzi plans on doing another study focusing on patients who have Type 2 diabetes and who have mentally tiring jobs to see how the two correlate.