Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Can Work Boost Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

British Study Shows Condition Is More Common in Lower Employment Grades
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News

Sept. 28, 2004 - An important part of your lifestyle may also increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. British researchers say career status may need to be added to the list of risk factors.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body can't produce enough insulin or use it properly. High job stress and low social support at work have been shown to be associated with increasing levels of blood sugars in nondiabetic people. But could this stress leads to an increased risk of diabetes especially in relationship to one's social position?

Researcher Meena Kumari, PhD, of the International Centre for Health and Society and University College London's epidemiology and public health department, and colleagues organized the study to analyze this issue.

They examined data on more than 10,000 British civil servants in London aged 35-55 from 1985-1999. All participants worked in white-collar jobs.

Besides tracking participants' health, the researchers also asked them about their jobs, social support, depression, and other psychosocial factors.

Kumari's team followed up with participants for more than 10 years on average. During that period, 4% of the government workers developed type 2 diabetes.

Risk Higher in Lower Ranks

Career level made a difference.

In short, the more senior the job, the less likely participants were to develop type 2 diabetes.

Men in lower-level jobs were almost three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared with higher-ranking professional men. Women in lower-level posts, such as clerical positions, were 70% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with female workers in more senior positions.

Men had an extra risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Male workers who felt they put a lot of effort into their jobs without an equal amount of reward had a 70% greater chance of developing diabetes. This was found to be independent of other factors typically associated with increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

"High efforts spent and low rewards received are hypothesized to result in emotional distress and adverse health effects," write the researchers in the Sept. 27 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine.

The impact of an effort-reward imbalance, which is also a risk factor for coronary heart disease, was not seen among women.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article