How work stress impacts your health

Work pressure or stress is emerging as one of the main reasons for the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes, says Dr Roshani Gadge, a diabetologist, consultant, Gadge Diabetes Centre, Mumbai

How work stress impacts your health
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We live in a stressful society which always puts us under pressure. We often compete against each other, and most of us want to climb the corporate ladder fast. What this leads to is stress and the feeling of being burnt out. In fact, it has become such a common complaint that it is no longer taken seriously, especially, in the work environment. Some even feel stress helps one to perform better.

One often forgets that this pressure has many detrimental effects. Today’s world is very competitive, and this often leads to office-goers neglecting their health.

While earlier, the most common causes of type-2 diabetes were thought to be a family history of diabetes, obesity, and aging, but today, work stress is considered as a prime cause for the rapid rise in the number of people falling prey to the condition.

In addition to this, working late nights or rotating night shift work is becoming common in India. Insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality, consequences of shift work, are independent risk factors for the development and exacerbation of insulin resistance and leads to increase in appetite and adiposity, which is a risk factor for type-2 diabetes.

Poor eating habits like skipping meals, overeating, excessive consumption of coffee and other beverages, smoking are also factors that lead to lifestyle diseases.

Impact of stress

Generally, behavioural problems such as binge eating, consumption of high fat, energy-dense food, poor dietary choices, physical inactivity, and a sedentary lifestyle, are associated with stress.

Stress reduces the quality of sleep and increases negative psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, insecurity, and low self-esteem, and these behavioural changes lead to obesity and the development of type-2 diabetes. When you are stressed, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may cause a rise in your blood sugar level.

It is observed that those who are regularly stressed are more likely to have poor blood glucose control, even among those with diabetes. One of the reasons for this is stress hormones such as cortisol, increase the amount of sugar in our blood.

A number of studies have identified stressors such as family losses which trigger the onset of diabetes, both type-1, and type-2. Thernlund et al. suggested that negative stressful experiences in the first two years of life may increase the risk of developing type-1 diabetes in children.

Work stress is linked directly to diabetes and the more stressed you are, you are more likely to get diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to nerve damage, amputations, blindness, heart disease, and strokes.

Preventive measures

  • Make sure to follow a healthy balanced diet and get regular physical activity.
  • Eat on time and do not skip meals, no matter how crammed is your work.
  • To manage stress, one can start playing a sport, have a hobby or have a holiday with family or friends. Any de-stressing activity you engage in will only increase your overall productivity and also increase your happiness quotient.