Acute emotional stress can be risk factor for type-2 diabetes

By
July 28, 2013 16:42

According to Wolfson Medical Center, number of diabetes cases were higher during 2012's Operation Pillar of Defense.




Smoke rises from IAF strike in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense, Nov. 2012

IAF strike in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

Adding to the risk factors that can lead to type-2 diabetes – such as being overweight, a poor lifestyle and genes – acute mental stress can also trigger the disease, researchers at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center said Sunday.

Prof. Mona Boaz, head of the epidemiology unit at the hospital, said a study was done whereby patients hospitalized as a matter of routine had their sugar levels recorded and were compared with those who were hospitalized during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, the eight-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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Dr. Julio Wainstein, head of Wolfson’s diabetes clinic, said that “one-time severe stress could trigger the development of type-2 diabetes or diabetes becoming more serious.”

Wainstein and Boaz published their findings in the latest Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics journal. Wainstein explained that there are differences of opinion on the effects of psychological stress on sugar levels.


“Thus, when the campaign took place, we compared the sugar levels of patients who were tested three days before the war [November 7 to 10, 2012] to those during the first four days of the war, November 14 to 17.”

A total of 3,375 blood samples were taken, of them 1,856 before and 1,708 during the conflict. Sugar levels rose significantly during the crisis from 169 mg per deciliter to 176. While genes and lifestyles are important in the development of diabetes, the team concluded, acute stress can also be a factor, and chronic stress can be an environmental trigger in people with a genetic tendency.

Wainstein said that diabetes has become an “epidemic” not only because of junkfood diets but also because of the stress of modern life. He advises people to use breathing exercises, meditation, psychological treatment and even hypnotherapy to reduce stress.

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