Women who find their jobs mentally tiring are more likely to
develop type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the European
Journal of Endocrinology. The study findings suggest that mentally draining
work, such as teaching, may increase the risk of diabetes in women. This
suggests that employers and women should be more aware of the potential health
risks associated with mentally tiring work.

A recent review suggested that work-related stress might be
associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, but more
investigation is needed.

In a French study, Dr Guy Fagherazzi and colleagues from the
Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Inserm, examined
the effect of mentally tiring work on diabetes incidence in over 70 000 women,
during a 22-year period. Approximately 75% of the women were in the teaching
profession and 24% reported finding their work very mentally tiring at the
beginning of the study. The study found that women were 21% more likely to
develop type 2 diabetes if they found their jobs mentally tiring at the start
of the study. This was independent of typical risk factors including age,
physical activity level, dietary habits, smoking status, blood pressure, family
history of diabetes and BMI.

“Although we cannot directly determine what increased
diabetes risk in these women, our results indicate it is not due to typical
type 2 diabetes risk factors. This finding underscores the importance of
considering mental tiredness as a risk factor for diabetes among women,” Dr
Fagherazzi commented.

“Both mentally tiring work and type 2 diabetes are
increasingly prevalent phenomena. What we do know is that support in the
workplace has a stronger impact on work-related stress in women than men.
Therefore, greater support for women in stressful work environments could help
to prevent chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes,” says Dr Fagherazzi.

The team now plans to study how mentally tiring work affects
patients with diabetes, including how they manage their treatment, their
quality of life and the risks of diabetes-related complications. This research
may help to identify new approaches that could help improve the lives of
patients living with diabetes.

Source:  European
Society of Endocrinology

Reference: Fagherazzi
G, et al. Mentally tiring work and type 2 diabetes in women: a 22-year
follow-up study. European Journal of Endocrinology. Published 13 March 2019.