Avoiding Shift Work Can Lower Your Risk for Developing Diabetes

Are you an employee required to work constantly changing shifts? If so, you may be at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes according to a new analysis.

Research indicates that men and people working swing shifts have the highest risk for developing the condition. Despite these conclusions, researchers are unsure why this is the case. These questions led to a new study headed by Zuxun Lu from Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

Lu and his colleagues analyzed a variety of studies over the past 30 years involving shift work and diabetes risk. According to the research, shift work is defined as working evenings, nights, irregular or rotating shifts, or anything other than normal daytime hours. Overall they found that shift work creates a 9 percent risk increase for developing diabetes. Males had a 28 percent greater risk compared to females, while rotating workers had the greatest risk of all at 42 percent.

This new analysis is eye-opening, but still doesn’t explain the correlation between shift work and the disease. Theories suggest circadian rhythms and poor sleep quality may affect the body’s ability to produce insulin. Shift work is also commonly associated with weight gain, increased body fat and other pre-diabetic conditions.

So, what’s the bottom line? There are many factors that lead to the development of diabetes besides shift work, but if you have a strong family history of the disease, you may want to avoid rotating shifts if possible.

Photo: Consolidating Healthcare Plan