Stress during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge caused a significant rise in blood sugar in the population and – in diabetics and others with too-high glucose levels – caused them to suffer from a metabolic imbalance, according to a senior expert at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.

Prof. Hila Knobler, head of the diabetes and metabolic diseases unit at the hospital, said that not only did glucose levels go up but also blood pressure. As the Hamas rockets triggered stress in virtually the entire population, doctors should check their patients now that the rockets have ceased falling, she said.

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“This is the time for patients to return to equilibrium, with help from experts in metabolism, nutrition, physiotherapy, and psychology, said Knobler, who is also chairman of the Society for Research and Treatment of Atherosclerosis.

She treated dozens of diabetics and other patients who tend to have higher glucose levels than normal.

The medical literature and evidence of the last few months have shown that stress, pressure, and anxiety affect stress hormones that help people avoid danger, such as from wild animals.

The rockets and mortar attacks brought about an increase in blood pressure, heartbeat, and levels of sugar that are then less absorbed by the muscles and remain in the blood, bringing it to the brain. An extended period like Protective Edge can increase the risk of complications from diabetes, such as problems in the eyes, kidneys, and heart, she added.

There are also other stress-related factors, such as eating junk food with high levels of simple carbohydrates, failing to take medications regularly, and returning to smoking. Stress can also raise the risk of developing depression.

“The end of the war is a good time to treat all this,” said Knobler.

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