A study conducted in Norway has revealed that feeling lonely increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In the study published in the “Diabetology” scientific journal, which specializes in diabetes, the researchers from the University of Applied Sciences in Western Norway observed increasing evidence linking stress and loneliness to type 2 diabetes.
The research team explained that loneliness causes an increase in the production of cortisol which in turn leads to a temporary resistance to insulin (the substance responsible for processing blood sugar).
Furthermore, researchers say loneliness can affect the way the brain controls eating habits, increasing the desire to eat carbohydrates, which raises blood sugar.
Previous studies have linked loneliness to unhealthy eating habits, such as excessive consumption of drinks with high concentrations of sugar and foods with high levels of fat.
In the study, the researchers used data from the Hunt Research Centre in Norway, the Regional Center for Health in Central Norway, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Based on the data from 230,000 people over the course of 4 statistical studies conducted between 1984 and 2019, the researchers concluded that “the lack of social relationships and the absence of positive social influences may make lonely people more susceptible to behaviours that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
The research team said that further research is needed to identify the mechanisms that control the link between loneliness and diabetes.
The team concluded that the question that needs to be answered is whether loneliness leads to stressful reactions in the body, which leads to negative health behaviour and to what extent does this trend affect the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?