Research published in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry reported loneliness to be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and the association is not mediated by insomnia or depression. The researchers determined a high degree of loneliness associated with a 2-fold greater risk of type 2 diabetes in a 20-year follow-up study.
The study comprised 24,024 participants; 1179 (4.9%) developed type 2 diabetes. Compared to individuals without type 2 diabetes, participants with type 2 diabetes were more likely to be men (59.3%) and had a higher mean age (47.9 years vs. 43.3 years). Patients with type 2 diabetes were more likely to be married and had the lowest level of education.
Although the mechanisms are unknown, the response is thought to play a vital role in the onset of type 2 diabetes via mechanisms such as transient insulin resistance caused by high cortisol levels. In addition, it may also cause changes in how the brain regulates eating behavior. It is believed that lonely individuals have an increased desire for carbs, which raises blood sugar levels.