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Loneliness increases the risk of type 2 diabetes: a 20 year follow-up – results from the HUNT study – published online 28/09/2022

Henriksen graphical abstract

Roger E. Henriksen, Roy M. Nilsen, Ragnhild B. Strandberg

A growing body of research has pointed to an association between psychological stress and an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In this issue, Henriksen et al ( report from their 20 year follow-up study showing that participants who recorded a high level of loneliness were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not feel lonely. Although their study did not examine the exact mechanisms involved, the researchers suggest that loneliness may activate the body’s physiological stress response and that this response may play a central role in the development of type 2 diabetes through different pathways. The authors recommend healthcare providers to be open to dialogue about an individual’s concerns during clinical consultations, including loneliness and social relationships.

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