“I Can’t Get Divorced, It’s Bad for My Glucose Levels!”

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Hostility and anger are associated with higher blood glucose levels in non-diabetic single men, new research shows.

But for married men, having a hostile or angry personality, or so-called “type A” behavior traits, doesn’t appear to boost blood sugar, Dr. Biing-Jiun Shen of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles found.

High blood sugar puts people at risk for both diabetes and coronary artery disease, while certain personality traits are known to worsen heart health and increase diabetes risk. To determine whether these traits might directly relate to blood glucose levels, the researchers evaluated 485 healthy men ranging in age from 52 to 66, checking their fasting blood glucose levels in 1986 and again in 1995.

Hostility, anger, and type A behavior as assessed at the beginning of the study were associated with blood glucose levels nine years later, the researchers found, although depression had no relationship to blood sugar.

But the relationship between personality traits and blood glucose was significant only for unmarried men. Married men had lower blood glucose levels, on average, than single men at follow-up.

“We speculate that married men benefited from their spouses, who helped them maintain a healthier lifestyle and curtail detrimental habits,” Shen and colleagues suggest.

Source: Diabetes Care, July 2008

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