A lonely, stressful work environment could raise your risk of diabetes even if you’re otherwise healthy, according to a new study.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University, the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv Yaffo Academic College found that low social support coupled with high work stress are predictors of diabetes development. Interestingly, researchers found that being both over- and under-loaded with work duties was also tied with diabetes risk.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, took place over three-and-a-half years and included 5,843 people in Tel Aviv with an average age of 48. At the start of the study, none of the participants had diabetes. The researchers also surveyed all the participants about their job stress levels, social support, workload and feelings of control in the workplace.
By the end of the study, 182 people had developed diabetes. Researchers found that having a strong social support system was linked with a 22 percent lower diabetes risk, and being under- or over-worked was linked with an 18 percent higher diabetes risk. These results held true even after taking into account body mass index, age, family history of the disease and physical activity levels.
Work stress isn’t just linked with diabetes risk — past studies have connected it with increased risk of heart attack, as well as shorter telomeres, which could speed up aging. And unfortunately, it’s quite ubiquitous — a recent survey showed that eight out of 10 people who are employed in the U.S. say they’re stressed by at least one aspect of their jobs.
Need some tips for calming down at work? Click through the slideshow for tips to de-stress at your desk: