The findings of a new study published in Diabetologia, a journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, have confirmed that working the night shift increases the risk of developing type II diabetes in African American women. The study was carried out to find whether there exists any correlation between working late nights and diabetes and not to find out the reason behind the same.

“Our findings from the Black Women’s Health Study contribute to the observational literature that consistently demonstrates a relationship between disrupted circadian rhythms and reduced total duration of sleep. Similar to the effects of jet lag, which are short term, shift workers experience fatigue, sleepiness during scheduled awake periods, and poor sleep during scheduled sleep periods. These alterations in the normal sleep-wake cycle have profound effects on metabolism…

“The metabolic effects of long-term shift work likely underlie a part of the association with diabetes that we describe and others that strengthen with years of exposure to sleep disruption,” lead author Dr Varsha G Vimalananda from the Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts told Medscape Medical News.

The doctor then advised clinicians to d discuss the adverse metabolic consequences of shift work and the associated disruption of sleep with patients who may have some choices in their work schedules and are in a position to make some changes to ensure that they get sufficient sleep at night.

Black American women are, in general, more prone to diabetes than whites with only 4.6% white women being affected as compared to 12.6% in case of black women.

The researchers came to the aforementioned conclusions after analyzing results from 28,041 women, 21% of whom had worked night-shift jobs for 1 to 2 years, 11% had done so for 3 to 9 years, and 5% for 10 or more years.

There was a difference by age as well- the older black women were more likely to be affected by Type II diabetes than their younger counterparts.

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