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November 14 marks World Diabetes Day 2018

As November 14 marks World Diabetes Day 2018, part of Diabetes Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of the condition and encourage those who may be at risk to be tested. With many studies focusing on the lifestyle factors that are associated with diabetes, here we round up some of the recent research which suggests changes we can make to lower our risk of the disease.

Try to take time for yourself
Canadian research which followed 7,065 workers between the ages of 35 and 74 for a period of 12 years found that women who work 45 or more hours a week have a 63 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes than women who work between 35 and 40 hours, although no association was found between working hours and diabetes in men. The researchers suggested that women might work longer hours in part due to household chores and family responsibilities, which could prompt a chronic stress response in the body, increasing the risk of hormonal abnormalities and insulin resistance, and that reducing the number of working hours might help curb the risk of the disease.

Get the optimal amount of sleep
Korean researchers have found that sleeping too much or too little are both linked with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including elevated waist circumference, high triglyceride levels, low levels of 'good' cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar. The large-scale study looked at 133,608 participants aged 40 to 69 years, finding that compared to those who slept six to seven hours per day, men who slept less than six hours and men and women who slept more than 10 hours were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk of diabetes. 

Get some exercise
A European study found that even in children, physical exercise can reduce the accumulation of risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, possibly lowering the risk of young people developing the conditions later in life. However, children who increased their sedentary behaviour showed an increase in the accumulation of risk factors. In addition, US researchers found earlier this year that women who had a high level of fitness pre-pregnancy had a 21 per cent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than women with a lower level of fitness.

Quit smoking
A large-scale study which looked at 512,891 Chinese adults aged 30 to 79 years found that regular smokers have a 15 to 30 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes compared with those who have never smoked. Smoking more cigarettes each day, starting smoking at a younger age, and smoking and being obese were also linked to an even greater risk of developing the condition. 

Give your social life a boost
According to Dutch researchers, a good social life could help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Social isolation is already known to be associated with type 2 diabetes, with the new study also found that a lack of participation in clubs or other social groups increased the risk of pre-diabetes in women and the risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, while having more friends, and more friends who lived close by, helped reduce the risk of the condition

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