Overweight and obesity are not the only causes of type 2 diabetes, as many believe. In fact, this disease can also develop in lean sporty people as a result of stress.
Stress is a trigger for many diseases, ranging from skin disorders, such as psoriasis, to irritable bowel syndrome and even cancer. A growing number of studies suggest that stress may be associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, regardless of how healthy your lifestyle is.
The study published in the Psychosomatic Medicine journal last September showed that the people who face a particular psychological pressure at work increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 45%. These conclusions were based on a 13-year-long observation of 50 men and women.
Type 2 diabetes develops at the moment when the body does not produce enough insulin or becomes less sensitive to this hormone. Insulin is important for the penetration of sugar into the cells, and in those who have excess weight this penetration is more problematic. According to one theory, the stress hormone cortisol may also affect the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
According to professor of medicine at the University of Glasgow Naveed Sattar, stress leads to lowered levels of cortisol, or steroid hormone, and sometimes, when you give people steroids in high doses, it interferes with the action of insulin. So when it is necessary to determine the degree of risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the doctors ask that person the question if he/she does not take steroids.
Professor Sattar himself is not sure that stress is a direct cause of type 2 diabetes, but other experts do not doubt it. According to Professor Andrew Steptoe of University College London, his research proves that people with type 2 diabetes react to stress differently. But it is not clear which way the cause-and-effect relation works here.