The potentially harmful effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and longevity are well established.
But according to a new research, loneliness could more than double the risk of Type 2 diabetes, reports Express.co.uk.
In a recent study, a group of researchers found that people who went out to clubs or mixed in groups significantly reduced their chances of suffering from the potentially deadly Type 2 diabetes. Those who were socially isolated were much more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than those with larger social networks.
The team of researchers found that a lack of participation in clubs or other social groups was associated with massive 112 % higher odds of type 2 diabetes in women. In men, lack of social participation was associated with 42 % higher odds of type 2 diabetes, the research found.
Men living alone were even more prone to the condition, with some 94 % higher odds of type 2 diabetes.
“High-risk groups for type 2 diabetes should broaden their network and should be encouraged to make new friends, as well as become members of a club, such as a volunteer organisation, sports club or discussion group,” said Dr Miranda Schram, part of the team from Maastricht University.
She continued, “As men living alone seem to be at a higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, they should become recognised as a high-risk group in health care. In addition, social network size and participation in social activities may eventually be used as indicators of diabetes risk.”
Meanwhile, lead author of the new study, Stephanie Brinkhues warned that the findings highlighted how people living lonely solitary lives were more prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
“We are the first to determine the association of a broad range of social network characteristics – such as social support, network size or type of relationships – with different stages of type 2 diabetes. Our findings support the idea that resolving social isolation may help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes,” explained Brinkhaus.
However, she pointed out that the study still did not entirely allow for cause and effect, as early changes in glucose metabolism may cause people to feel tired and unwell, which could explain why individuals limit their social participation. The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.