Night shift workers with type 2 diabetes have poorer blood sugar control than those who work in the daytime or do not have a job, according to new research.
Previous studies have shown that people who work unsociable hours are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but this Thai study has delved deeper into the subject.
Principal investigator Dr Sirimon Reutrakul, an associate professor at Mahidol University Faculty of Medicine in Bangkok, said: “Previously, there were little data whether people who already have type 2 diabetes and work the night shift have trouble controlling their blood sugars.
“Our study data raise awareness of the difficulty in diabetes control among night shift workers.”
A total of 260 people with type 2 diabetes with varying working schedules took part in the study. Of those, 62 were night shift workers, 94 worked in the day and 104 did not have a job.
Medical records were used to study their HbA1c levels, with the findings showing those who worked night shifts had an average HbA1c of 66.1 mmol/mol (8.2%). This figure was 59.6 mmol/mol (7.6%) for those who worked during the day, and 58.5 mmol/mol (7.5%) for those who were unemployed.
Other results showed that night shift workers also had less sleep, consumed more calories and had a higher body mass index (BMI) when compared with the other two groups.
Dr Reutrakul said: “Diabetic individuals who work at night should pay special attention to managing their disease through healthy eating, regular exercise and optimal use of medications prescribed by their physician.”
The results of the research were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting which took place in Orlando.

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