Risk Of Diabetes Enhanced For Poor Sleepers

by Savitha C Muppala on Dec 8 2008 5:39 PM

Those who are poor sleepers have a big risk awaiting them- diabetes. A mutant gene is thought to be the culprit behind this, affecting the body clock and insulin levels.

The mutation affects the regulation of the hormone melatonin as well as alters insulin levels in the body according to researchers. Infact the risk is 20% higher for all those who carry the mutant strain.

Researchers from Britain, France, Canada and Denmark conducted a study of the genetic composition of close to 33,000 diabetic and non-diabetic people.

The risk of high blood sugar went up proportionately according to the number of mutations the person carried, researchers found. The study showed that 43% of people with six or more mutations portrayed high blood sugar levels.

Co-author Professor Philippe Froguel, of Imperial College London's Department of Genomic Medicine, said: "There is already some research to suggest there are links between sleep problems and conditions such as obesity and depression, both of which are associated with diabetes. For example, we know that obese children tend to sleep badly and that people become obese if they are not having enough sleep. Our new study demonstrates that abnormalities in the circadian rhythm may partly be causing diabetes and high blood sugar levels. We hope it will ultimately provide new options for treating people."

"We are nearing the stage when we can develop tests that can identify the people most at risk of developing high blood sugar and diabetes later in their lives, so we can intervene to improve their health before they reach that point," he added.