Could your spouse give you diabetes?

Is it possible that having a spouse with diabetes predisposes you to the condition?

Maybe, say researchers from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Findings from a recent study suggest that spousal diabetes is a diabetes risk factor, indicating that couples can work together to help reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Bad behavior

Researchers analyzed the results of six studies on diabetes in different parts of the world. Their aim was to determine key factors like age, socioeconomic status and how diabetes was diagnosed in over 75,000 couples.

"We found a 26-percent increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your spouse also has type 2 diabetes," senior author of the study, Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, said in a statement.

Changing behavior can be difficult unless you have the support of your partner, Dasgupta noted, which is why diabetes risk can increase in couples where poor diet or lifestyle behaviors are rampant.

A connection between spousal diabetes and pre-diabetes risk was also found, the team reported.

A testing marker

While family history is a factor that physicians look at when it comes to diabetes risk, the study authors suggest that spousal history may be another factor that healthcare professionals should take into consideration.

"The results of our review suggest that diabetes diagnosis in one spouse may warrant increased surveillance in the other," Dasgupta said.

Men, she noted, are also less likely than women to have regular medical screenings, which can result in delayed diagnoses of diabetes.

"As a result, men living with a spouse with diabetes history may particularly benefit from being followed more closely."

Source: McGill University

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