Healthcare systems are concerned about the rising number of people with chronic illnesses like Type 2 Diabetic Mellitus (T2DM). According to projections, there will be 366 million people with diabetes worldwide by 2030, up from 171 million in 2000. Environmental, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors, including stress and depression, are some of the earlier recognised causes of T2DM. Social isolation has recently been linked to the emergence of T2DM, according to a new study.
Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands have found that those who are at risk of getting T2DM can reduce that risk by becoming more socially active. According to the study, males who are pre-diabetic, in particular, and who have an introverted personality type have a higher risk of developing T2DM.
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Now, let’s go back to the study. It dealt with medical information on almost 3000 individuals, ages 40 to 75. Of these, 1623 had never had diabetes, 430 did have, 111 had just been diagnosed, and 697 had Type 2 Diabetes at birth. According to the findings, those who are socially isolated are 60% more likely to become pre-diabetic; solitary men are particularly in danger. It is 84% more likely for single men to get T2DM and 59% more likely for them to develop pre-diabetes if they are not active socially. There were no significant corresponding findings for women. However, the incidence of T2DM was 112% higher among women who did not participate in social activities.
This was the first study to identify the links between various phases of Type 2 Diabetes and a wide range of social network characteristics, such as social support, network size, or nature of relationships. The study places a strong emphasis on the notion that T2DM can be stopped by addressing social isolation.
The study was unable to explain why social isolation increased the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. People who are in the early stages of Type 2 Diabetes may feel less socially inclined.
Those who are at a high risk of developing T2DM should broaden their social circle by making new acquaintances, joining a recreation and sports group, volunteering, and participating in other group activities.
It is commonly known that loneliness and social isolation can have negative impacts on one’s health and longevity. However, a recent study suggests that loneliness may more than double the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Researchers recently discovered that individuals who frequented bars and mingled with others greatly decreased their risk of developing potentially fatal Type 2 Diabetes. Compared to people with broader social networks, socially isolated people had a considerably higher likelihood of being diagnosed with the illness. The research team discovered that women had a 112% higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes when they did not participate in clubs or other social groups. On the other hand, males who are less socially active have 42% higher odds of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
According to a member of the Maastricht University team, ‘High-risk groups for Type 2 Diabetes should broaden their network and should be encouraged to make new friends, as well as become members of a club, such as a volunteer organisation, sports club, or discussion group.’
Men who live alone appear to be more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. Thus, they should be designated as a high-risk group in healthcare. Additionally, the size of social networks and engagement in social activities could one day be markers of diabetes risk.
The study’s lead author also issued a warning, noting that the results showed how people who lived solitary, lonely lives were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study still did not fully support cause and effect, as early alterations in glucose metabolism may make people feel exhausted and poorly, which may account for why people limit their social engagement.
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