Working a shift rotation increases the overall risk of type 2 diabetes by 9 percent, according to a new study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
The research, which involved assessing scientific databases and studies, reveals a much higher risk, 37 percent, when it comes to men working shifts. The research involved 12 studies with a total of 226,500 participants of which 14,600 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Those who work rotating shift schedules face even a higher risk factor of 42 percent. Researchers attribute the increased risk to the challenge of adjusting to a ever-changing sleep cycle and likely getting less sleep than needed. It may also be tied to poor eating habits due to the changing work hours. Rotating shifts are when workers cycle through periods of working the day, swing, and night shifts, generally in rotation.
"In most cases, the human body was exposed to continuous stress from attempts to adjust as quickly as possible to the varying working hours, but at the same time was frustrated by the continuous shift rotation," the investigators said. "Consequently, the health effect on the rotating shift groups may be more profound and pronounced than for other shift groups."
The researchers say men working shifts should likely be paying more attention to health consequences and issues, given the increased risk factor.
"Daytime levels of the male hormone testosterone are controlled by the internal body clock, so it's possible that repeated disruption may affect this," states a release.
Dr. Yong Gan and colleagues at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei, China, conducted the research.
The authors pointed to research implicating low male hormone levels in insulin resistance and diabetes. "Most shift patterns, except mixed and evening shifts, were associated with a heightened risk of the disease compared with those working normal office hours."
The news comes as scientists continue to search for better diabetes drugs and insight on disease prevention.
As Tech Times recently reported, researchers are getting closer to developing more effective drugs for type 2 diabetes patients using a specific protein, FGF1, which restores blood sugar levels for a two-day period. It may also reverse insulin insensitivity.