Increased stress may make people, who relocate from rural areas to cities, more prone to diabetes in developing nations, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
Chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol could raise a person's risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic problems. Cortisol counteracts insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar level and slows the body's production of it.
The study findings reveal that 28 percent of urban dwellers had diabetes or other glucose metabolism disorders. This rate was less than half that for rural residents. While the city residents reported that they exercised less and ate more junk food and desserts than the rural residents, lifestyle changes are not the only factor at work. The urban residents also had significantly higher cortisol levels than their rural counterparts. This difference in cortisol levels indicates that the hormone was a key part of the equation.
Peter Herbert Kann, PhD, said, "This was the first prospective study to systematically show the body's regulation of the hormone cortisol plays a part in the metabolic changes brought on by the shift to an urban lifestyle."