Monday, July 28, 2008


A recent Swedish study, published in Diabetic Medicine ( not the most "blue " Journal ) seem to suggest that increase psychological stress doubles the risk of diabetes, but only in males. There was no increase risk in females. There seem to be a little gender bias. Well of course this findings have to be re-confirmed by others. I suppose it is worth noting that this is a Caucasian study, with a study population of about 2,000 males and 3,000 females. These are relatively small numbers for such a wide ranging conclusion. I am sure that we would like to see bigger numbers. Also the issue of psychological stress may have to be better defined. In this study, psychological stress included anxiety, depression and insomnia. These are relatively vague definitions.
Whatever the shortcomings of this small study, it is reasonable to take note that those who do not sleep well, or those who are prone to bouts of anxiety and depression, should take note. More so if you are also obese or overweight. It is interesting that these are also the risk factors for obesity, hypertension and atherosclerosis. As always, we have always believed in an entity called the cardiovascular continuum, where, obesity may lead to hypertension and diabetes, and obesity, hypertension and diabetes will lead to heart disease and eventually to death. The reverse is also true, that if we should reduce the incidence of obesity, we will also reduce hypertension and diabetes, and in so doing also reduce cardiac disease and so death from cardiac disease.
On the issue of gender bias, that is even more interesting. It may be that the female sex handles psychological stress better, or the they are less stressed, as they always have their males to depend on. It may also be that the hormonal reaction to stress may be different from that of the females. I do not think that I wish to go into an argument of which is the stronger sex, but just to note that psychological stress is a serious problem with males and may lead to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Males be aware. Sleep well, take holidays to unwind and leave all the stress to the female partner. This may be the male recipe to a longer live.

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