Stress connected to another chronic conditionNews added by Benefits Pro on August 26, 2014

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By Dan Cook

Stressed at work? Find a way to get relaxed ASAP. It could quite literally save your life.

A major German study of more than 5,000 working adults concluded that high levels of workplace stress can lead directly to an occurrence of type 2 diabetes, a disease both deadly in and of itself and as a gateway to other chronic conditions.

See also: Top 10 most-stressful and least-stressful jobs

The study comes from the Institute of Epidemiology in Munich. It followed workers ages 29 to 66, measuring their levels of stress and correlating it to their health.

Big-picture outcome: those under high stress at work are 45 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. And that can happen whether one is overweight or not. Related disorders include stroke, heart disease and blindness.

This wasn't a quick phone call survey. As reported in the UK publication The Daily Mail, the Institute followed the subjects for 12 years. During that time, the Institute reported, almost 300 of those in the study developed type 2 diabetes—and they had all been healthy at the start of the study.

“As well as measuring body mass index (BMI) and family medical history, researchers quizzed volunteers on their stress levels at work. High job strain was defined as being faced with huge demands but having little control over how things are done,” the Daily Mail said.

“It’s not clear how high levels of job strain lead to diabetes but it’s possible that constant exposure to raised levels of stress hormones upsets the body’s glucose balance. High blood glucose levels can damage the body’s circulation and major organs,” the Daily Mail reported.

A high BMI of 30 or more is usually seen as the diabetes danger zone.

Researcher Professor Karl-Heinz Ladwig told the Daily Mail: “According to our data, roughly one in five people in employment is affected by high levels of stress at work. We don't mean normal job stress but rather the situation in which the individuals concerned rate the demands made upon them as very high and at the same time have little scope for maneuver or decision-making.”

The findings were published by the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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