Friday, July 28, 2006

Tsunami and Diabetes

Tsunami and Diabetes.
What has Tsunami to do with Diabetes?
The report given by Dr.A.Ramachandran, Managing director of M.V. hospital for Diabetes is amazing!It is a well known fact that stress and diabetes go hand in hand. It is one of the precipitating factors for diabetes. But it also plays a bigger role when patients go through a tough time in life when they lose their beloved ones and their property due to natural calamity. In such cases the intensity of stress is higher and hence the contribution to cause diabetes and hypertension is more.The tsunami that struck India and other countries on 26th December 2004 brought large scale destruction of property and loss of human lives. More people suffered from severe psychological stress. Dr. Ramachandran, conducted a study on people who suffered heavily by the killer waves has been able to show a higher incidence of glucose intolerance- a precursor to diabetes and full blown- diabetes. The team led by him studied the fishermen living in North Chennai. Two populations of fishermen living in the same area –one group affected by the tsunami and the other were not. They belonged to the same age group and income level. The group that lived near the sea feared the most than the other population that lived away from the sea. The study done in April – June last year studied nearly 1400 persons from both groups.He said that some individual’s scores did not correlate with diabetes or IGT but as a population the increased stress score in fishermen who suffered from tsunami did correlate with the increase in incidence undiagnosed diabetes and IGT. The possible non-correlation of stress and diabetes on an individual basis according to him is because each person would react to stress in a different way. And women were found to be more stressed than men. This is not the first time that a positive correlation between stress and diabetes has been found. A study done in people following the earth quake in Kobe, Japan found that the glycemic control was aggravated in diabetic patients after the earth quake than the control group in Osaka which was unaffected by the earth quake. It is also well known that people suffer from cardio vascular disease following stress. Catecholamine a natural hormone is responsible for increasing the heart beat and the blood pressure. In under severe stress the hormone goes up and it causes an increased in blood pressure. So stress is always a contributing and a risk factor in diabetes and hypertension.

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