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New research: Loneliness is associated with twice the risk of developing diabetes


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Loneliness, according to the researchers, should be included in clinical guidelines regarding the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.

Feelings of loneliness are associated with a significantly increased – approximately twofold – risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new Norwegian scientific study. Previous research has linked mental stress with diabetes.

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The researchers, led by Associate Professor Roger Henriksen of the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences in Bergen, who published in the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) journal Diabetologia, analyzed data on 24,024 people, taking into account both for the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, and for the psychological assessment of the level of loneliness of each person.

Feelings of loneliness were reported by 13% of the participants. During the study period (1995-2019) 1,179 people or almost 5% were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 59% were men and their average age was 48 years.

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Those who were very lonely were twice as likely to develop diabetes, compared to those who did not feel lonely at all. The researchers pointed out that loneliness should now be included in clinical guidelines regarding the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. They also said that further study is needed into the biological mechanisms linking loneliness to diabetes.


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