Experts say that now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers.
Although work-related stress has been known to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, the far-reaching effects of stress are still being uncovered as a new population-based German study finds evidence for a strong association between work stress and type II diabetes mellitus.
Dr. Cornelia Huth and Professor Karl-Heinz Ladwig lead a team of researchers who discovered that individuals who are under a high level of pressure at work and at the same time perceive little control over the activities they perform face an about 45 percent higher risk of developing type II diabetes than those who are subjected to less stress at their workplace.
The scientists examined data prospectively collected from more than 5,300 employed individuals aged between 29 and 66 who took part in a population-based cohort study.
At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had diabetes, while in the post-observation period, which covered an average of 13 years, almost 300 of them were diagnosed with type II diabetes.
As discussed in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, the increase in risk in work-related stress was identified independently of classic risk factors such as obesity, age, or gender.
Experts believe roughly one in five people in the work force is affected by high levels of mental stress at work.
By that, scientists do not mean “normal” job stress but rather when demands made upon workers are very high, and at the same time they have little scope for maneuvering or for decision making.
“We covered both these aspects in great detail in our surveys,” said Ladwig, who led the study.
“In view of the huge health implications of stress-related disorders, preventive measures to prevent common diseases such as diabetes should therefore also begin at this point,” he added.
Diabetes is an emerging epidemic in many countries as environmental and lifestyle factors (such as obesity) play a key role in the development of the disease.
Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München