Healthcare News & Insights

Rotating shifts may increase risk of Type 2 diabetes, study says

New research shows working rotating shifts could have serious consequences for nurses’ health. 

A study published in PLoS Medicine found that employees, especially women, who work even just a few overnight shifts a month may be at a greater risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Several health factors are negatively affected by rotating shift work, including obesity, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and decreased metabolism. The body often has trouble adjusting when normal sleep patterns are disturbed, which can contribute to those conditions. Also, nurses working rotating shifts may not always get proper exercise and nutrition.

Since obesity is linked to Type 2 diabetes, it’s no wonder shift work is correlated with the disease.

Women who had rotating work schedules for 20 years had a 60% greater chance of developing the disorder than those who never worked night shifts. Women on shift work for 10-19 years had a 40% greater chance, and those who spent three to nine years on shift work had a 20% greater chance.

The study only included nurses whose schedules rotated between night and day shifts.

In addition to that study, the Institute of Medicine recently released a report stating there is evidence of a possible link between shift work and breast cancer.

Hospital management can help prevent those issues by offering wellness programs to encourage nurses who work rotating shifts to get the proper diet, rest and excercise.

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