Shift Work as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes?

Shift work—meaning unusual or irregular work schedules that might feature a combination of day and night shifts—has previously been associated with the likes of breast cancer and reduced fertility. New research suggests that it is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

A meta-analysis carried out by researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China found that, compared with working normal office hours, a period of shift work was associated with a nine percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But for men the news was worse: following adjustment and considering the effects of several factors, including gender, shift schedule, BMI, and family history of diabetes, researchers calculated the increased risk of type 2 diabetes for men to be a whopping 37 percent.

For the analysis, researchers looked at results from 12 international studies involving over 226,500 people, including 14,600 of whom had been diagnosed with diabetes.

While they were unable to fully account for the higher risk of type 2 among men who do shift work, they postulated that shift work disrupts the internal body clock, which might be affecting levels of testosterone in the body. Prior research has demonstrated that low levels of male hormones is associated with insulin resistance as well as diabetes.

Photo: Daily Mail