Working long hours puts women at greater risk of diabetes

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We already know that working over 39 hours a week is bad for everyone.

But now it turns out that working long hours especially compromises women’s health.

In fact, women who work over 45 hours a week are up to 63% more likely to develop diabetes than those who work between 35 and 40 hours a week.

That’s according to new study published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care journal.

For 12 years, researchers have been tracking 7,065 workers (3,502 women and 3,563 men) in Canada, who had no previous diabetes diagnosis.

While there was no real correlation between diabetes development and long hours for the men, the study found that women’s risk was heightened dramatically.

That percentage dropped slightly when lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption and BMI were considered.

But still, researchers maintain that that ‘working 45 hours or more per week was associated with an increased incidence of diabetes among women, but not men’.

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It’s not the first report of its kind to suggest that long working hours disproportionately impact women’s health; in fact, a 2016 Ohio State University study found that men who work between 41 and 50 hours a week actually have a lower risk of heart and lung disease, and depression.

As for women, well, it’s pretty easy to see how increased stress may be playing a role in their deteriorating health.

According to Diabetes.co.uk, stress plays a huge role when it comes to blood sugar. When we’re stressed, our bodies respond by releasing hormones (cortisol) that give cells access to stored energy (fat and glucose). As our cortisol levels increase, so does the amount of sugar in our blood – and that can lead to Cushing’s Syndrome, one of the lesser known causes of diabetes.

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(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Women often do many, many more hours of unpaid domestic labour – be that cooking, cleaning, looking after kids or elderly relatives, taking the emotional load in the household as well as the menial chores. You can kind of see that for some men, working longer hours in an office environment may actually be less stressful at times than having to deal with putting kids to bed etc.

With that extra burden of stress, it’s no wonder that working long hours in an office or work environment may leave little time for women to recover or look after their personal health.

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