Married couples, even unhappy ones, at lower risk of type 2 diabetes: Study

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Married couples, whether they are happy together or not, are at a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study revealed.

The report – which builds on previous studies that confirm happy marriages are linked to better health – found that single people over the age of 50 are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

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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.

“Overall, our results suggested that marital/cohabitating relationships were inversely related to HbA1c levels regardless of dimensions of spousal support or strain,” the researchers said in the study.

“Likewise, these relationships appeared to have a protective effect against HbA1c levels above the pre-diabetes threshold.”

The data showed that 76 per cent of people in the analysis who did not develop type 2 diabetes were married or living together.

“Increased support for older adults who are experiencing the loss of a marital/cohabitating relationship through divorce or bereavement, as well as the dismantling of negative stereotypes around romantic relationships in later life, may be starting points for addressing health risks, more specifically deteriorating glycemic regulation, associated with marital transitions in older adults,” The Guardian cited Katherine Ford, the lead researcher on the study as saying.

The nature and quality of the relationship, however, did not have an effect on the average levels of blood glucose, which indicated that having a relationship was more important than whether it was a strained one.

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