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TUESDAY, Sept. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Loneliness is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in Diabetologia.

Ruth A. Hackett, Ph.D., from King’s College London, and colleagues used data from 4,112 diabetes-free participants (mean age, 65.02 years) participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to evaluate the association between loneliness and type 2 diabetes onset (2006 to 2017).

The researchers found that 264 participants (6.42 percent) developed type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, wealth, smoking status, physical activity, alcohol consumption, body mass index, hemoglobin A1c, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, loneliness was a significant predictor of incident type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio, 1.46). After further adjustment for depressive symptoms, living alone, and social isolation, the association between loneliness and type 2 diabetes onset remained (hazard ratio, 1.41). There was no significant association seen between living alone and social isolation with type 2 diabetes onset.

“If the feeling of loneliness becomes chronic, then everyday you’re stimulating the stress system and over time that leads to wear and tear on your body and those negative changes in stress-related biology may be linked to type 2 diabetes development,” Hackett said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text