Women who find their work mentally tiring are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in European Journal of Endocrinology.
Findings show that mental work drainage, such as teaching, can increase the risk of diabetes in women. This suggests that employers and women should be more aware of the possible health risks associated with mentally tedious work.
Type 2 diabetes is a widespread disease that puts enormous weight on patients and society and can lead to significant health problems such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and renal failure. Many factors can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including obesity, diet, exercise, smoking or family history of the disease.
During the study, the researchers looked at the effect of mentally tired work on the incidence of diabetes in over 70,000 women over a 22-year period. About 75 percent of women were in the teaching profession and 24 percent reported that their work was very mentally tedious at the beginning of the study. It was found that women were 21% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if they found their work intellectually tiring at the beginning of the study. This was independent of the typical risk factors, such as age, level of physical activity, eating habits, smoking status, blood pressure, family history of diabetes and BMI.
Dr Guy Fagherazzi, the lead author of the study, said: "Although we can not directly identify the increased risk of diabetes in these women, our results indicate that it is not due to standard type 2 diabetes risk factors. This finding underlines the the importance of theoretical mental fatigue as a risk factor for diabetes among women.
"Both mental work and type 2 diabetes are increasingly prevalent. What we know is that workplace support has a stronger effect on work stress on women than on men. Therefore, greater support for women in a stressful working environment could help prevent chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. "
The team is now planning to study how mentally tired work affects patients with diabetes, including the way they manage their treatment, their quality of life and the risks associated with diabetes. This research can help identify new approaches that could help improve the lives of patients living with diabetes.