Stressful events and the onset of diabetes mellitus

Isr J Med Sci. 1985 Apr;21(4):356-8.


Insulin-treated diabetics were questioned about stressful events preceding the onset of their diabetes, such as: 1) febrile disease, 2) accident, 3) pregnancy, 4) problems in the family or at work, 5) other or 6) no specific events. Of 66 patients there were 38 men and 28 women, with ages ranging from 17 to 85 years. The duration of diabetes was from several months to 30 years; 41% had no family history of diabetes. Forty-nine patients (74%) indicated a specific event (mostly groups 4 and 5), preceding the onset of diabetes by several months in 24, weeks in 11, and days in 10 patients; 4 did not remember a time sequence. Only 31% of a control group of 62 age- and sex-matched acute surgical patients, similarly questioned, indicated a specific event prior to their operation. Although these data were not intended to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, they suggest some connection between stressful events and disruption of metabolic equilibrium in persons susceptible (genetically or otherwise) to developing diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fever / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress, Physiological / complications*
  • Time Factors