Impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake on diabetic patients

Mamiko Tanaka, Junta Imai, Michihiro Satoh, Takanao Hashimoto, Tomohito Izumi, Shojiro Sawada, Kenji Uno, Yutaka Hasegawa, Keizo Kaneko, Tetsuya Yamada, Yasushi Ishigaki, Yutaka Imai, Hideki Katagiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/Introduction: We investigated impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake on diabetic patients and characterized those with disaster-susceptible diabetes. Materials and Methods: We enrolled 497 diabetic patients who had been followed at hospitals in devastated areas. We collected metabolic parameters prospectively, 1 and 3 months after the earthquake, and retrospectively for pre-earthquake time-points. Questionnaire surveys were carried out regarding earthquake-related damage and post-earthquake lifestyle alterations. Available data were analyzed to examine associations with post-earthquake glycosylated hemoglobin alterations. Results: The mean glycosylated hemoglobin level of the participants was not elevated at 1 month, and was significantly decreased at 3 months as compared with the pre-earthquake glycosylated hemoglobin. There were no significant differences in earthquake-related damage or lifestyle alterations between the improved and worsened glycemic control groups according to the data obtained from the questionnaire survey. As reported, fasting serum C-peptide levels were significantly lower in the worsened glycemic control group (P < 0.05). Notably, plasma noradrenaline levels were significantly higher in the worsened glycemic control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, at 1 month after the earthquake, the plasma noradrenaline level was significantly higher in the low C-peptide group (fasting serum C-peptide <1.0 ng/mL) than in the high C-peptide group (fasting serum C-peptide ≥1.0 ng/mL), but this difference had disappeared by 3 months after the earthquake. These findings show that post-earthquake plasma noradrenaline levels were temporarily increased in the low C-peptide group. Conclusions: Sympathetic nerve activation might be elicited more easily in subjects with lower endogenous insulin secretory capacity, and could be involved in the mechanism underlying post-earthquake worsening of glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Diabetes Investigation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1


  • Glycemic control
  • Natural disaster
  • Sympathetic activation


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