New research published this week in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care suggests another diabetes risk factor for women: overworking.
Scientists examined data from 7,065 Canadians who were tracked over a span of 12 years and found that women who worked an average of 45 hours or more had a 63-percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those working 35-40 hours per week.
The findings aren't surprising to Becky Wood of Dallas, who said juggling a career while being a single mom had health consequences she didn't expect.
She developed diabetes by the time she was 40 and the single mother of two believes working 60 hours a week as an interior designer may have been part of the reason.
"I think the stress, the food choices, the hours of not sleeping enough. The focus, as a single mom, is being able to cover all the bases, make sure everyone is okay, making sure you have everything you need to keep the home running, food on the table," said Wood.
"Women tend to be the ultimate scarificers, sacrificing themselves for others," said her doctor, Dr. Donna Casey, Internist at Texas Health Dallas.
She said Wood's poor food choices, lack of sleep and little to no exercise played a role in her diabetes and that she sees many women in her office in a similar health situation.
The good news, she said, is diabetes can be managed and reversed. "Losing weight and changing your diet has immediate results. It's shocking how we see how quickly people can change things around," said Dr. Casey.
Wood has made all the right changes, most importantly, working fewer hours.
She said she feels energized and optimistic that her story may resonate with other busy, working women.
"Sometimes, I think, financially, if I slow down, that's not a good thing, but in reality, in the long run, it's better to take care of your health when you realize it early on because you will pay the price if you don't," said Wood.