It’s no secret that mentally tiring work can make us feel drained at the end of the day.
But according to one recent study, taxing work can actually put women at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“What they found was in a group of more than 70,000 women, there was a 21% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for those who declared very mentally tiring work,” said Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study.
Vouyiouklis Kellis said experts know that stress increases cortisol levels.
She said cortisol counteracts insulin, and when cortisol levels rise, more glucose travels from the liver into the bloodstream. This results in high blood glucose levels, which, over time, can cause a person to develop insulin resistance, and lead to Type 2 diabetes.
Vouyiouklis Kellis said people who have tiring jobs may also have other stressors at home and when those factors combine they can create a lot of stress with no time for decompression.
That's why she believes it’s important to find ways to relieve stress to prevent cortisol levels from spiking.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time or work. Many people say, ‘I don’t have time to exercise.’ But doing something as simple as a five-minute meditation -- even during your lunch break at work, or just right before you go to bed -- can make a big difference in reducing the amount of stress in a given day,” said Vouyiouklis Kellis.
Whether you have a predisposition for diabetes or not, Vouyiouklis Kellis said if you have stress, it’s important to find some way to decompress that fits your lifestyle.
“I would recommend finding what works for you,” she said. “Whether it’s going to the gym, doing yoga, or meditating -- these are really important ways to do it. Going out into nature, go on walks -- finding what’s right for you is really the most important thing and making sure that you do it every day.”
Complete results of the study can be found in the European Journal of Endocrinology.