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Rich Social Life Can Protect Against Diabetes

Published tisdag 26 januari 2010 kl 20.42
Singing in a choir can help against diabetes

A new Swedish study shows that - with a little help from your friends - you can significantly lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.

"If you have a large social network, and are part of associations where you socialise and play music together with other people, you can lower the risk by 25-30%," says Claes-Göran Östenson, professor at the Karolinska University Hospital.

There were 8. 000 people taking part in the study, first as 35-55 year olds and then again ten years later.

The study confirms a number of known risk-factors when it comes to type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight or not getting enough exercise, you are more likely to contract the disease, and if you smoke or use moist snuff - like some people in Sweden do - the risk is doubled or even tripled, compared to if you do not use tobacco.

But the findings also showed a number of differences between men and women in terms. For example, men are twice as likely as women to contract the disease. Nearly one in four men, and approximately one in eight women between the ages 35 and 65 who originally were healthy, had type 2 diabetes - or were at a preliminary stage of the disease - ten years later.

Also, the risk factors for men look different from the things that pose a risk to women.

Claes-Göran Östenson says that stress at work poses a particular risk to women, especially the stress that comes from when you have little influence on the content of your work, making you two to three times more likely to get the disease, whereas men do not seem to be affected in the same way.

Men on the other hand, run a several times higher risk of contracting type 2 diabetes if they have problems with sleeplessness than if they do not. Women somehow seem less affected if they have trouble with sleeping.

Asked how he lives to try to avoid getting diabetes, professor Österson replies: "I drink a lot of coffee - four to five cups a day, without cream or sugar - that has proven to have a protective affect. I also try to exercise several times a week and more or less keep my weight down."

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