Relationship may help people control blood sugar, study finds

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In a study from Luxembourg and Canada, scientists found people living with a spouse seem to have a higher likelihood of being healthy in maintaining lower blood sugar levels.

Researchers believe that having a spouse or cohabitating partner may be an important relationship and source of social support and/or strain for adults in mid to later life for their health.

Previous studies have suggested there are health benefits from marriage and/or cohabiting, particularly for older adults.

Some studies have concluded that type 2 diabetes risk is associated with social isolation, loneliness, living arrangements, social support, and social network size.

In the study, the team examined if there was an association between marital status and marital quality with average blood sugar levels in older adults.

They used biomarker data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)—a population-based sample of adults aged 50 years and older and their partners, who live in England, from whom data are collected every second year, with biomarker data collected in every other wave.

The data were from 3,335 adults aged 50 to 89 years old without previously diagnosed diabetes over a period from 2004 to 2013.

The team found people living with a spouse seem to have a higher likelihood of being healthy in maintaining lower blood sugar levels.

They showed that people who experienced marital transitions (eg. divorce) also experienced big changes in their HbA1c levels and risk of pre-diabetes.

However, the quality of the relationship did not make a big difference to the average levels of blood glucose, suggesting that having a supportive or strained relationship was less important than just having a relationship at all.

The team suggests that marital/cohabitating relationships are inversely related to HbA1c levels regardless of dimensions of spousal support or strain.

Likewise, these links appeared to have a protective effect against HbA1c levels above the pre-diabetes threshold.

If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about tart cherry juice could benefit blood sugar health, and low-carb diet may reduce blood sugar in prediabetes.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about the key cause of type 2 diabetes, and results showing people with diabetes on Medicare Advantage plans more likely to have worse health.

The study was conducted by Katherine J Ford et al and published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

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