People Who Are Married May Be Able To Prevent Having High Blood Sugar

People Who Are Married May Be Able To Prevent Having High Blood Sugar

Research that was published online in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that those who live with a spouse had a better possibility of being healthy in terms of keeping lower blood sugar levels. This was true regardless of how amicable or contentious their relationship is. According to the findings of recent studies, having a spouse or cohabitating mate may be a significant relationship as well as a source of social support and/or tension for individuals in the middle to later stages of their lives.

Previous research has shown that there may be positive effects on one’s health as a result of marriage or cohabitation, especially for those in their later years. There are also many research that have come to the conclusion that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is connected with a variety of social health dimensions. These social health dimensions include social isolation, loneliness, housing conditions, social support, and the size of the social network. However, since the consequences of each particular social health factor are complicated, a group of scientists from Luxembourg and Canada set out to determine whether or not there was a connection between the marital status of older persons and their average glycemic levels.

They utilized data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), which is a population-based sample of persons aged 50 years and older and their spouses who reside in England. Data are gathered from this sample every other year, and biomarker data are acquired in every other wave of the study.

The data for the research came from 3,335 persons without a history of diabetes who were between the ages of 50 and 89 and living in the United Kingdom between the years 2004 and 2013.

The sample consisted of individuals who did not have diabetes in their family history and were aged 50 to 89 years old during wave 2 (2004-2005) of the ELSA study (the first year when biomarker data were made available). Self-reporting was used to establish whether or not a person already had diabetes.

After the primary interview in waves 2 (2004-05), 4 (2008-09), and 6 (2012-13), participants were given the opportunity to meet with a nurse for a follow-up appointment during which blood samples were collected to determine their HbA1c levels.

In addition, the respondents were asked whether or not they lived with a husband, wife, or partner, and then they were presented with a series of questions aimed to determine the extent of social strain as well as social support that is present inside a married or cohabiting relationship.

The participants’ ages, incomes, job statuses, smoking histories, levels of physical activity, levels of depression, body mass index (BMI), and the sorts of social relationships they had within their social networks were all taken into consideration while compiling this data.

According to the findings from the survey’s wave 2 (2004-2005), about three quarters (76%) of the respondents were married or cohabitating at the time. An examination of the data over the course of time revealed that individuals who went through changes in their marital status, such as divorce, also went through substantial shifts in the levels of their HbA1c and the likelihood that they would develop pre-diabetes. Yet, the quality of the connection did not have any significant impact to the overall levels of blood glucose. This indicates that having a relationship at all, regardless of whether it was supporting or strained, was more essential than having either supportive or strained relationship.

Because this was an observational research, we are unable to draw any conclusions on cause and effect. In all honesty, the research had a few flaws, one of which was that a large proportion of participants left the ELSA in the middle of one of its waves while they were still collecting biomarker data. More over half of the wave 2 sample did not have any follow-up data, which meant they could not be included in the analysis. There was also the potential that those with worse health were more prone to divorce than those with better health.

However, the authors claimed that their research’s benefits included the use of HbA1c as an outcome measure as opposed to self-reported diagnoses. The former is a more reliable and exact measure when it is employed in population-based surveys than identified medical disorders, which are contingent on participants having obtained proper healthcare prior to study inclusion.
The researchers came to the following conclusion based on their findings: “Overall, our data revealed that married or cohabitating relationships were inversely associated to HbA1c levels independent of dimensions of spousal support or tension.” In a similar vein, these connections showed signs of having a protective impact against HbA1c levels that were higher than the threshold for pre-diabetes.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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