For most people, stress on the job is seemingly unavoidable. Whether you have a high-profile position at a Fortune 500 company, or are an employee of a small business, it seems that stress follows you to your desk on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this puts your health in danger . . . and now even more so according to new research. A new study out of the UK indicates that stress on the job may up your chance for developing type-2 diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is a disease in which a person suffering from it does not make enough insulin, or the body doesn’t correctly work with the insulin produced. Complications from diabetes include blindness, kidney damage, and nerve damage.
It also plays a key role in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, which can lead to strokes, and coronary heart disease. It contributes to approximately 225,000 deaths per year in the US. However, many people aren’t even aware that they’re at risk for the disease. There are several known risk factors for type-2 diabetes; these include:
- Being overweight
- Family history
- Gestational diabetes
A new study among British civil services workers points to another risk factor not taken in to account before: job stress.
The study assessed job-related stressors over an average of nearly 12 years in 5,895 British civil servants who were initially free of diabetes. In the end, 308 workers - 92 of whom were women - developed type-2 diabetes.
Interestingly enough, the study failed to show a connection between job stress and diabetes risk in the male workers.
In the case of the women, however, it was a different story. According to study investigator Alex Heraclides, a PhD student at University College London, about "10 percent of all type-2 diabetes cases would have been prevented," had job-related stressors such as little control, high demands, and little social support been eliminated.
While overall workers in the study who developed diabetes had some of the biological characteristics expected in people who develop diabetes, among the female workers, these biological factors (as well as lower versus higher employment)"only explained a third of the effect," Heraclides said. The Effect of Stress on Your Body
You’ve likely been told at some point or another to “chill out.” It’s actually very good advice. Stress is extremely detrimental to the body. In prehistoric times it was a necessary function to survive – people then were threatened by all types of wild animals and needed to be able to respond immediately (hence “fight or flight”). Today, too, in times of sudden stress you’ll get a burst of exceptional strength and endurance in response to your body pumping out stress hormones. For the most part, however, these levels shouldn’t be sustained.
Unfortunately for many of us, they are. Being under stress frequently can harm your physical health. Negative effects from stress include:
- Chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches, and back pain
- Higher susceptibility to colds and other diseases
- Increased blood pressure and increased risk for stroke
- Increased danger of heart attacks
- Worsening of asthma attacks
- Higher likelihood of behaviors that contribute to death and disability, like smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating
- Diminished sex drive and an inability to achieve orgasm
- Less likelihood of taking steps to improve health, such as quitting smoking or eating a healthy diet
The study’s findings make it all the more clear that people need to realize the detrimental effect stress can have on their physical well being, and take the necessary steps to reduce the level of stress in their lives.
Some common ways to relieve stress include exercising, mediation, massage, yoga, and deep breathing.