Can Childhood Stress Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

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From Your Health Journal…..”I was very happy to be quoted in this article. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise with children, and I believe the environment plays such a large part in all of this. Does stress directly cause type 2 diabetes? I don’t think directly, but indirectly, I feel in can contribute. Stress has a major impact on our bodies and life. It causes many of us to have weaker immune systems, get sick more often, become overly tired, increased risk for heart disease, and unhappy associated with low self esteem. For many children, it may even cause them to eat more at meals or snack often, eating foods higher in fat or heavily processed. If this happens on a regular basis, a child may risk becoming overweight or obese. Research has shown a direct correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetes. So, coming back ‘full circle’ – stress can indirectly cause type 2 diabetes when associated with other health concerns.”

From the article…..

To date, studies on the link have been small, but many doctors and patients alike feel that emotional and family stress can lead to the development of the disease.

Aaron Snyder, 35, of San Diego, a certified trainer and nutritional lifestyle coach and author of The New Diabetes Prescription: The Diet, Exercise, and Mindset Revolution, believes that childhood abuse played a role in his developing type 2 diabetes.

“I was an emotional eater since the age of 7, was extremely overweight and neglected,” he recalls. “This [was] perpetuated until my older brother, the abuser, moved out of the house when I was 13.”

As a consequence, Snyder was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 23. “During those 10 years, I continued to suffer from emotional eating, depression, and anxiety that I have since overcome.” Now, Snyder says he’s been able to control his diabetes with diet and exercise and is 100 percent off of his medications.

Synder is not alone in believing that there’s a link between childhood stress and type 2 diabetes. Many adults who experience profound family stress as children may also be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, a recent review of numerous studies published in the journal Discovery Medicine found. (There is, it’s worth noting, a clear link between depression, anxiety, and other kinds of emotional stress experienced in adulthood and the onset of type 2 diabetes.)

As an endocrinologist, Paul Strumph, MD, former vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in New York, says he’s not surprised by a potential link between childhood stress and diabetes, caused by an acceleration of insulin resistance. “Increased risk for type 2 diabetes is one of the medical conditions that is recognized to be associated with a stressful home environment,” he notes. He adds that while stress at home is not the only factor that leads to diabetes, it certainly is an important one.

Len Saunders, a fitness expert based in Montville, N.J., who served as a consultant to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and as an American Heart Association spokesman on childhood obesity, says that diabetes can stem from many sources, which are often intertwined. “Stress causes the immune system to weaken, making way for a ‘weaker’ body to get sick,” he explains. “Diabetes is not immune to this.” Family stress also causes many people to overeat and gain weight. “As they eat more, they sleep less, and all this could definitely contribute to type 2 diabetes as well,” Saunders adds.

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