According to a new research led by an Indian-origin scientist at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, Canada, living together under one roof could also imply sharing diabetes.
“We found a 26 percent increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your spouse also has type 2 diabetes,” says senior author Kaberi Dasgupta, an associate professor of medicine at McGill University.
“This may be a platform to assist clinicians to develop strategies to involve both partners. Changing health behaviour is challenging and if you have the collaboration of your partner it’s likely to be easier,” she added.
Dasgupta’s team wanted to see if risk behaviours like poor eating habits and low physical activity could be shared within a household, said the study published in the journal BMC Medicine.
They analysed results from six selected studies that were conducted in different parts of the world and looked at key outcomes such as age, socio-economic status and the way in which diabetes was diagnosed in over 75,000 couples.
Most of the studies relied on health records which may not always accurately record diabetes.
Those that used direct blood testing suggested that diabetes risk doubles if your partner has diabetes. A strong correlation with pre-diabetes risk was also found.
“When we look at the health history of patients, we often ask about family history. Our results suggest spousal history may be another factor we should take in consideration,” said Dasgupta.
According to Dasgupta, spousal diabetes is also a potential tool for early diabetes detection.
“The results suggest that diabetes diagnosis in one spouse may warrant increased surveillance in the other,” stressed Dasgupta.
Moreover, it has been observed that men are less likely than women to undergo regular medical evaluation after childhood and that can result in delayed diabetes detection.
As a result, men living with a spouse with diabetes history may particularly benefit from being followed more closely, the study concluded.