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HSLD 12-13-2006 12:06 AM

Job burnout may raise type 2 diabetes risk
 
Job burnout may raise type 2 diabetes risk
Last Updated: 2006-11-22 13:37:08 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who suffer from job burnout may be prone to developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study of 677 mostly male middle-aged Israeli workers, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
The findings in this study, investigators say, suggest that chronic job burnout -- the core components of which are emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, and cognitive weariness -- might be a risk factor for the onset of type 2 diabetes in apparently healthy individuals.

"It has been suggested that stress plays a significant role in the (development) of type 2 diabetes," lead author Dr. Samuel Melamed from Tel Aviv University told Reuters Health. "Emotional burnout may pose risk to health. Earlier studies have found it to be associated with cardiovascular disease risk, sleep disturbances, impaired fertility and musculoskeletal pain."

"Our finding suggests that the potential damage to health may be greater than suspected and it may also include a risk of diabetes," Melamed said.
Of the 677 workers in the study, 17 developed type 2 diabetes during the 3 to 5 years of follow-up. The investigators found that workers who experienced job burnout were 1.84 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, even after accounting for the effects of age, sex, obesity, smoking, leisure time physical activity, job category and other factors that could contribute to the development of the disease.

"The burnout state is chronic in nature and it is associated with increased risk of diabetes in a magnitude similar to other risk factors such as high body mass index, smoking, and lack of physical exercise," Melamed said.
In a subgroup of 507 workers for whom the researchers had blood pressure measurements, the burned-out workers had a greater than fourfold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after controlling for high blood pressure levels.
This suggests that the link between burnout and diabetes is not mediated by high blood pressure.

It's also "noteworthy" that the average burnout score of study subjects did not change over time. This suggests that prolonged exposure to job burnout may "set the stage" for various disease-causing processes that may culminate in health impairment such as the onset of type 2 diabetes.

"The general public should be aware that emotional burnout, in addition to its impairing quality of life, may also constitute risk to health," Melamed continued.
"Knowledge and implementation of stress management techniques such as exercising, getting enough sleep, dieting, assertiveness training, may prevent burnout or reduce it before it becomes chronic, thereby reducing the potential risk of physical health impairment."

SOURCE: Psychosomatic, Medicine November/December 2006.


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