Loneliness Linked To Double Risk Of Developing Diabetes: Study

According to a new study, loneliness is linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes. Read on. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaUpdated at: Sep 30, 2022 17:15 IST
Loneliness Linked To Double Risk Of Developing Diabetes: Study

According to a new study, published in Diabetologia (the peer-reviewed journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]), it was found that the levels of loneliness are linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted by Associate Professor Roger E. Henriksen and his team at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. It also analyzed the relation between loneliness and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and whether depression and insomnia play a part in the same. 

Henriksen noted, "As both loneliness and type 2 diabetes have been linked to depression and sleep problems, we also investigated whether any association between loneliness and type 2 diabetes is mediated by symptoms of depression and insomnia. Although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it is believed that activation of physiological stress responses over time plays a central role in the etiology of type 2 diabetes. For instance, HPA axis activation leads to elevated secretion of cortisol, which in turn leads to increased glycogenolysis and temporary insulin resistance."

Henriksen explained, "Against this background, given that loneliness induces a state of chronic stress and may lead to unhealthy eating behavior, it is reasonable to assume that there is a direct link between loneliness and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Against this background, given that loneliness induces a state of chronic stress and may lead to unhealthy eating behavior, it is reasonable to assume that there is a direct link between loneliness and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes." 

Also read: Not Smoking But Loneliness Can Make You Age Faster, Finds Study

Concludingly, the researchers noted that higher levels of loneliness were majorly linked to an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Moreover, after taking in consideration the factors such as gender, age and education level, they found that those who said that they were feeling the loneliest were twice at a higher risk to develop diabetes than people who did report not being lonely. 

He said, "The role of other factors such as diet, obesity and physical activity should also be investigated. These are well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes and have also been associated with loneliness or social isolation. More research on the direct link between loneliness and type 2 diabetes is also needed to better understand the mechanisms at play."

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