Monday, 20 May, 2024
HomeEndocrinologyBeing married may help stave off type 2 diabetes, study finds

Being married may help stave off type 2 diabetes, study finds

Recent research has showed that being married or living together might prevent type 2 diabetes and help keep sugar levels under control, regardless of whether the relationship is happy or not.

Previous studies have found that happy marriages confer a range of health benefits compared with being single, including a longer life, fewer strokes and heart attacks, less depression and healthier eating.

The latest study looked at blood sugar levels in older people, in particular, with the findings of decreased sugar levels for those in a relationship appearing to hold true, regardless of whether the couple was happy or under strain, reports The Independent.

Experts from the University of Luxembourg and the University of Ottawa in Canada examined data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing on 3 335 adults aged 50 to 89 who did not have diabetes at the start of the study.

Their study, published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, included data gathered from blood samples which measured HbA1c (average blood glucose) levels.

People were asked if they had a husband, wife, or partner with whom they lived and asked to examine the level of strain and support within the relationship.

The data showed that 76% of people in the analysis were married or living together.

Researchers found that the quality of the relationship did not make a significant difference to the average levels of blood glucose, suggesting that having a supportive or strained relationship was less important than just having a relationship at all.

The researchers concluded: “Overall, our results suggested that marital/cohabiting relationships were inversely related to HbA1c levels regardless of dimensions of spousal support or strain.

“Likewise, these relationships appeared to have a protective effect against HbA1c levels above the pre-diabetes threshold.” According to Diabetes UK, more than 4.9m people in the UK have diabetes.

Some 850 000 of them live with type 2 diabetes but are undiagnosed.

Study details

How sweet is your love? Disentangling the role of marital status and quality on average glycaemic levels among adults 50 years and older in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Katherine Ford, Annie Robitaille

Published in BMJ Open Diabetes & Research Care Vol 11, Issue 1

Abstract

Introduction
The health benefits of marriage have been widely documented and, to a lesser extent, the effects of marital quality. Marital relationships may be particularly relevant to the health of older adults. This study explores the associations of marital status and marital quality with average glycaemic levels in older adults using longitudinal data.

Research design and methods
Our sample consisted of adults aged 50–89 years without previously diagnosed diabetes from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (n=3335). We used biomarker data from waves 2 (2004/2005), 4 (2008/2009) and 6 (2012/2013) to analyse changes in haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels within individuals in relation to their marital indicators (marital status, social support from spouse, and social strain from spouse) over time using linear fixed effect models.

Results
We found that being married was associated with lower HbA1c values (β: −0.21%; 95% CI −0.31% to −0.10%) among adults without pre-existing diabetes. Spousal support and spousal strain were generally not associated with HbA1c values.

Conclusions
It seems that marital relationships, regardless of the quality of the relationship, are associated with lower HbA1c values for male and female adults aged over 50 years.

 

BMJ article – How sweet is your love? Disentangling the role of marital status and quality on average glycemic levels among adults 50 years and older in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Creative Commons Licence)

 

The Independent article – Being married ‘may help prevent type 2 diabetes’ (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Marriage significantly lowers dementia risk — meta-analysis

 

Marriage may stave off dementia

 

Marriage may make the heart beat stronger and longer

 

Biological evidence of how marriage impacts on health

 

 

 

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appreciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.