Diabetes is among the commonest diseases in today’s world. It has been associated with a number of risk factors some of which include increased weight, unhealthy diet, and diminished physical activities. While these factors are modifiable, there are certain other non-modifiable risk factors such as genes, age, and ethnicity.
In addition to these conventional risk factors that everyone is aware of, certain studies have indicated how the psychology of a person can affect their risk of diabetes.
For example, depressive symptoms have been strongly correlated with an increased risk of diabetes. Researchers have even suggested depression to be included among the risk factors that warrant immediate screening for diabetes.
Other scientists have indicated self-reported cynical hostility among other risk factors of diabetes. The same disorder has also been suggested to worsen the signs of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.
However, there are not enough studies that explored the protective effects of certain traits against the risk of diabetes.
A new study published in a journal named Menopause has tried to fill this gap.
The scientists retrieved the data from Women’s Health Initiative to check whether positive traits like optimism affect the risk of diabetes type 2 in postmenopausal women. Remember that WHI was a long-term observational study with an aim to avoid chronic diseases in women.
Optimism Reduces the Risk of Diabetes Type 2
The data was collected from 139,924 postmenopausal women who initially did not suffer from diabetes. Through 14 years of follow-up, 19,240 women suffered from this disease.
The scientists investigated the personality traits of these women and categorized them in quartiles. They found that women who had the highest levels of optimism were 12 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as compared to the women with the lowest level of optimism.
In contrary to this, women who had strong negative emotions were found to be at a 9 percent higher risk of developing diabetes. Those with the highest quartile in reference to hostility were 17 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes.
In addition to this, the study found that the link between the risk of diabetes and hostility was less obvious in women suffering from obesity.
The scientists concluded that a high level of negativity and hostile behavior together with low optimism lead to an increase in the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women who are independent of any depressive symptoms or other major health hazards.
The major conclusions drawn from this study include the importance of personality traits in the determination of pathological diseases. Experts say that personality traits hardly change throughout life and usually stay stable. Hence, women who are hostile, show negative behaviors, or exhibit zero optimism must be exposed to preventive therapies tailored according to their specific personality types.
Moreover, the results of this study must not only be used to identify the high-risk group among women. In fact, it must be utilized to provide more individualized education and perhaps better treatment strategies to help them out.