Diabetes Control Is More Difficult for Night Shift Workers
People with type 2 diabetes have poorer control over their blood glucose levels when they work the night shift compared with those who work in the daytime or are unemployed, a new study finds. The study results, to be presented Monday at the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., showed that poor long-term glycemic, or blood sugar, control, was independent of what workers ate or any sleep problems they had.
These new findings, from investigators in Thailand, expand on others’ research showing that night shift work is associated with an increased risk for the development of diabetes.
“Previously, there were little data whether people who already have type 2 diabetes and work the night shift have trouble controlling their blood sugars,” said Sirimon Reutrakul, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and an associate professor at Mahidol University Faculty of Medicine, Bangkok. “Our study data raise awareness of the difficulty in diabetes control among night shift workers.”
In the United States alone, nearly 6 million full-time employees work a permanent or rotating night shift, according to 2000 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Reutrakul and her colleagues studied 260 individuals with type 2 diabetes in Thailand: 62 night shift workers, 94 daytime workers and 104 unemployed individuals. The researchers determined the study participants’ glycemic control by reviewing their medical records for recent measurements of hemoglobin A1C. The A1C test shows the average blood sugar level over the previous three months. Most people with diabetes should strive for an A1C level below 7 percent, according to the Hormone Health Network.