Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake and huge tsunami on glycaemic control and blood pressure in patients with diabetes mellitus
  1. Susumu Ogawa1,2,
  2. Mikihito Ishiki3,
  3. Kazuhiro Nako1,
  4. Masashi Okamura1,4,
  5. Miho Senda1,
  6. Takuya Sakamoto1,
  7. Sadayoshi Ito1
  1. 1Division of Nephrology, Endocrinology and Vascular Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan
  2. 2Center for the Advancement of Higher Education, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  3. 3Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital, Rikuzentakata, Japan
  4. 4Center for Translational and Advanced Research, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Susumu Ogawa; ogawa-s{at}


Objective To examine the effects of a huge tsunami resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake on blood pressure (BP) control and glycaemic control in diabetic patients.

Design A retrospective study.

Setting Tohoku University, Japan.

Participants 63 patients were visiting Rikuzentakata Hospital for diabetic treatment before the earthquake and returned to the clinic in July after the earthquake, and they were analysed in the present study. The subjects were divided into two groups: those who were hit by the tsunami, the Tsunami (+) group (n=28), and those who were not, the Tsunami (−) group (n=35), and the groups' parameters and their changes were compared.

Primary outcome measure Changes of HbA1c.

Secondary outcome measures Changes of BP, body mass index.

Results HbA1c and both BP increased, while the numbers of most drugs taken decreased in both groups. Parameter changes were significantly greater in the Tsunami (+) group. All medical data stored at the hospital was lost in the tsunami. The Tsunami (+) patients also had their own records of treatment washed away, so it was difficult to replicate their pre-earthquake drug prescriptions afterwards. In comparison, the Tsunami (−) patients kept their treatment information, making it possible to resume the treatment they had been receiving before the earthquake. The BP rose only slightly in men, whereas it rose sharply in women, even though they had not been directly affected by the tsunami. BP rose markedly in both genders affected by the tsunami.

Conclusions All medical information was lost in the tsunami, and glycaemic and BP controls of the tsunami-affected patients worsened more than those of patients who had been affected by the earthquake alone. Women may be more sensitive to changes in the living environment that result from a major earthquake than are men.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

View Full Text

Statistics from

Supplementary materials


  • To cite: Ogawa S, Ishiki M, Nako K, et al. Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake and huge tsunami on glycaemic control and blood pressure in patients with diabetes mellitus. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000830. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000830

  • Contributors SO researched data, wrote manuscript and contributed to discussion. MI is a director of Rikuzentakata Hospital. He offered the data and the information necessary for this investigation. MI does not only offer data but also participates in the discussion, in the locale information gathering and in acquisition of the informed consent. KN, MO, MS and TS researched data and contributed discussion. SI contributed to discussion and reviewed/edited the manuscript. All authors made the final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector. This work was done within the health insurance treatment.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Because there is no photograph that the personal name and the individual can specify in our manuscript.

  • Ethics approval The study was performed in line with ethical guidelines in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Data are presented in aggregate, and no personal health information is disclosed. Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Please contact SO, corresponding author, when you want further information of our original research article.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.