The insomnia could be a novel risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. This is indicated by new research that examined the DNA of almost 900,000 people and concludes that insomnia increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 17%.
This discovery is novel because the researchers used a method known as Mendelian randomization (MR). This method uses genetic variants to determine whether an observational association between a risk factor and an outcome indicates a true cause-and-effect relationship.
Modern life alternates sleep and contributes to more cases of diabetes
It is a fact that the prevalence of diabetes is increasing over the years. In fact, according to data collected by national health surveys, almost 6 million people suffer from diabetes in Spain, with a higher percentage in people over 65 years of age. Also, most of these cases are type 2 diabetes.
It should be remembered that in type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or the cells do not make use of insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.
The researchers began by searching the database for studies on type 2 diabetes and identified 1,360 relevant articles and 97 possible risk factors to investigate. In addition, the DNA data were provided by the Diabetes Genetic Replication and Meta-Analysis Consortium (DIAGRAM), with a total of 74,124 participants with type 2 diabetes and 824,006 without the disease.
The mean age of the subjects was 55 years, 51.8% were male, and most were of European descent.
Subsequently, the researchers checked the possible causes of type 2 diabetes to see if they could be replicated in a separate independent cohort, using the FinnGen consortium, which included 11,006 people with type 2 diabetes and 82,655 without this disease.
The researchers found 34 chance associations, 19 risk factors, and 15 protective factors for type 2 diabetes. Thus, they identified insomnia as a new risk factor and estimated that people with insomnia were 17% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those without the disorder.
Because being overweight and obese affect many other risk factors, researchers analyzed risk and protective factors after controlling for body mass index in adulthood. Eight risk factors remained statistically significant, suggesting that these factors have an independent impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In addition to insomnia, systolic blood pressure, lifetime smoking and liver enzyme levels were among these factors. Likewise, protective factors included total cholesterol, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and levels of sex hormones.
Although these factors have been investigated before, this new study is important as identifies a casual relationship, In other words, the fact that two things happen more frequently does not mean that they are automatically related to each other.
Improving sleep, the first step in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Although identifying insomnia as a risk factor is a new finding, the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes remains obesity. In fact, much of what is driving the rise in type 2 diabetes is this disease.
Nevertheless, improving sleep is also a modifiable risk factor And that may be easier to tackle than losing weight.