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

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.

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.