Married couple are said to share the risk of diabetes, with a new study finding that your partner’s body mass index (BMI) can predict your risk of developing diabetes.
Researchers have found that men are particularly more prone to developing the metabolic disease if their wife is obese. Scientists examined data from 3,649 men and 3,478 women in the UK.
From other studies the researchers knew that spouses are often similar in terms of body weight, among other things because people often marry someone similar to themselves and often share dietary and exercise habits when living together. Therefore, the researchers also examined whether the heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes of an obese woman, for example, was merely a result of her own body weight. Here the researchers found a difference between the two sexes.
A man, whose wife had a BMI of 30, had a 21 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes than men whose wives had a BMI of 25 – regardless of the man’s own BMI.
The researchers have not examined why only the men still had a heightened risk after own weight adjustment. They do have a theory, though, which involves who is in charge of the household.
Diabetes can cause complications and serious sequelae such as damage to the heart, kidneys and eyes.
According to the Danish Diabetes Association, 35 per cent experience complications by the time they are diagnosed with diabetes. Therefore, early detection is vital.
If type 2 diabetes is detected at an early stage, medical treatment can be postponed, and instead the patient can begin with lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and doing more physical exercise.