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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 February 2007, 02:28 GMT
Job burn-out 'ups diabetes risk'
Diabetes injection
Diabetes is linked to poor lifestyle
People who suffer from job burn-out may be prone to developing type 2 diabetes, research suggests.

An Israeli study of 677 mostly male, middle-aged workers found those affected by burn-out were nearly twice as likely to develop the condition.

When the possible effect of blood pressure levels was eliminated, the risk was more than four-fold higher.

The study, in Psychosomatic Medicine, suggests stress can be added to other factors known to increase risk.

Unhealthy and stressful lifestyles are definitely a contributing factor in this
Natasha Marsland
Diabetes UK

The researchers, from Tel Aviv University, said they included obesity, smoking and lack of exercise.

Lead researcher Dr Samule Melamed said: "Emotional burn-out may pose a risk to health.

"Earlier studies have found it to be associated with cardiovascular disease risk, sleep disturbances, impaired fertility and musculoskeletal pain.

"Our finding suggests that the potential damage to health may be greater than suspected and it may also include a risk of diabetes."

Cannot handle stress

The Tel Aviv team found people who experienced job burn-out were 1.84 times more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes, even when factors like age, sex and obesity were taken into account.

The researchers looked at a smaller sample - 507 workers - and tried to statistically eliminate the possible effect of blood pressure levels.

This revealed that burned-out workers were then 4.32 times more likely to get type 2 diabetes.

Dr Melamed said: "It is possible that these people are prone to diabetes because they can't handle stress very well.

"Their coping resources may have been depleted not only due to job stress but also life stresses, such as stressful life events and daily hassles.

"Knowledge and implementation of stress-management techniques, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, dieting, assertiveness training, may prevent burn-out or reduce it before it becomes chronic, thereby reducing the potential risk of physical health impairment."

Fat deposition

Natasha Marsland, a care adviser at the charity Diabetes UK, said other studies had also suggested a link between stress and type 2 diabetes.

She said: "Stress can cause high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but it can also cause fat to deposit around the waist which is also a huge risk factor.

"Working long hours in stressful environments leaves little time for physical activity.

"Unless people find the time to fit in 30 minutes of physical activity a day, the diabetes epidemic will continue to get worse."

Ms Marsland said type 2 diabetes used to be found only in people over the age of 40, but was now increasing at an alarming rate in younger people.

She said: "Unhealthy and stressful lifestyles are definitely a contributing factor in this."

It is estimated there are 750,000 people in the UK who have type 2 diabetes, but do not realise it.

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