Report says shift work increases the risk of diabetes
People who do shift work may be at heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes
The increased risk factor is highest among men and those working on rotating shift patterns, suggests a study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Previous research has suggested links between working shifts and a heightened risk of various health problems, including digestive disorders, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease. The risk factor for diabetes, however, had been unclear.
The authors of the latest study analysed 12 international studies from a database of 448, involving more than 226,500 participants, 14,600 of whom had diabetes.
Based on these results, they calculated that any period of shift work produced a 9pc increased risk factor for diabetes.
This increased to 37pc for men. The reasons are unclear, say the authors, but they suggest that disruption to daytime levels of testosterone levels may be a factor.
Rotating shifts, where people work different segments of the 24-hour cycle rather than regular office hours, were associated with a 42pc increased risk factor, the highest reported by the study.
Rotating shifts make it harder for people to establish regular sleep patterns and maintain good dietary habits.
Research has suggested that a lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep, may prompt or worsen insulin resistance, say the authors.
Public health experts have predicted that the number of adults (over 45) with diabetes in Ireland could increase to 9.1pc by 2020.
This represents a 30pc increase in just 10 years.