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How to manage diabetes in war and crisis situations

Stress and anxiety can worsen health conditions, including diabetes. Awareness and preparation reduce risks

A girl with juvenile diabetes injects insulin. shutterstock photo
A girl with juvenile diabetes injects insulin. shutterstock photo

The state of war that Israel has been in for the past few weeks may worsen health conditions even without a direct connection to the front. The diabetic population, as well as those in the "pre-diabetic" state, are included in this risk group, since stress and anxiety conditions negatively affect their sugar balance. The "Diabetes Literature in the Galilee" team offers the sick public some rules of thumb for dealing with diabetes in the current situation.

There are several factors that increase the risk of aggravation of the disease in unusual situations: an increase in stress hormones - a stressful situation increases the level of anti-insulin hormones such as cortisone, glucagon, adrenaline and growth hormone in the blood, thus impairing insulin function and causing an increase in sugar levels. A decrease in physical activity - the routine of life changes and includes less leaving the house, staying in the hospital and prolonged hours of watching television. All this may lead to an increase in weight and sugar values. The state of stress and the availability of food even lead to disordered eating and increased food consumption. Damage to the duration and quality of sleep - good sleep maintains the biological clock, reduces the risk of obesity and helps maintain metabolic balance. The distraction in light of the emergency situation will cause a decrease in self-care effort.

In addition to all these, the state of war may reduce the availability of various health and support services. In this aspect, the vulnerability in the periphery is twofold: many, many residents of the north and south, who also routinely face a lower availability of treatment factors, are now forced to evacuate their homes and face a total disruption of their daily routine. That is why it is especially important to pay attention to daily practices designed to maintain balance and reduce manufactured risks in simple ways.

The Russell Berry Diabetes Literature in the Galilee was established in light of the morbidity and mortality from diabetes in the North, at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University, located in Safed. As part of its activities, the library produced a training booklet and a series of videos explaining the risk situations and guiding how to deal with them in the current security situation. The guide is divided into two parts: in the first part instructions for maintaining a healthy routine. Each of the components of the routine - mood, nutrition, physical activity and sleep - is accompanied by a short video explaining how to behave in order to maintain balance. The second part details steps to be taken in situations such as hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and kycotic acidosis, and also presents a list of items that should be provided in case of a prolonged stay in the MMD.

For a guide to managing diabetes in a state of war and continuous stress

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