Influences of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake on glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus in Tokyo
N. Kumagai, Y. Muroya, M. Shimodaira, K. Tsuzawa & K. Honda
Objectives: Huge 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami attacked eastern areas of Japan, on March 11th 2011. They claimed more than 20,000 lives and destroyed the nuclear power plants. Although the property damage was very little in Tokyo, about 250 miles apart from the epicenter, the people in capital faced a lot of hard situations. For example, unusual food supply, the lack of the daily necessities, the limitation of the electricity supply, and a fear of hundreds of aftershocks and radioactive contamination. Therefore, we evaluated the influence of this disaster on the patients with diabetes in Tokyo.
Methods: We evaluated the changes of glycemic control of 99 diabetic out-patients in our hospital from the results of blood examination before and after the earthquake (PreE / PostE). Furthermore, self-administered questionnaires were applied to assess their changes of the life style, especially about the medical nutrition therapy, the physical activities, and the mental state.
Results: The mean HbA1c levels at one month PostE in 99 patients were significantly higher than those of PreE. However, HbA1c levels at 4 months PostE decreased into the PreE levels. There was further significant decrease at 6 months PostE. Next we divided these 99 patients into two groups. In one group of patients whose HbA1c apparently increased one month PostE, the increase of the food intakes and the decrease of the physical activities were significant. In this group, a fear of the aftershocks and the radioactive contamination must be the main reason for the decrease of the physical activities.
Conclusion: These results show us that the self-management of diabetic patients can be highly disturbed in case of such serious disasters even if they lives apart from disaster areas.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.