A new study sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine exposed a potential connection between night shift work and type 2 diabetes. Its results could prove significant for diabetes prevention efforts.
According to the National Diabetes Clearinghouse, diabetes affects more than 8% of the U.S. population. Type 2 diabetes, the kind related to unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and being overweight, is far more prevalent than type 1. Thirty-five percent of people over 20 are pre-diabetic, meaning they are at very high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The study involved 13 non-diabetic, non-obese participants who spent four consecutive days working day shifts and then night shifts, or the other way around, with baseline days in between. Their diets were identical for both shifts. Researchers tested glucose and insulin levels before their first meals and several times after. They found that the participants had 16% higher glucose levels and 40 to 50% higher insulin levels when on the night shift schedule as when on the day shift schedule. See more on this at www.eurekalert.org.
Type 2 diabetes is one of a host of health conditions that come with an unhealthy lifestyle. Thorough treatment and prevention includes, first and foremost, changes to diet and activity levels. The results of this study suggest a supplementary protocol for patients with diabetes and prediabetes, not an alternative to other lifestyle changes.