Objective The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster forced the evacuation of residents and led to many changes in the lifestyle of the evacuees. A comprehensive health check was implemented to support the prevention of lifestyle-related disease, and we analyzed changes in lipid metabolism before and after these disasters.
Methods Subjects included Japanese men and women living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. Annual health checkups, focusing on metabolic syndromes, were conducted for persons ≥40 years of age by the Heath Care Insures.
Results A total of 27,486 subjects underwent a follow-up examination after the disaster, with a mean follow-up of 1.6 years. Following the disaster, the prevalence of hypo-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterolemia increased significantly from 6.0% to 7.2%. In the hypo-HDL cholesterolemia group, the body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and LDL-C level increased significantly in men after the disaster. On the other hand, in the normal HDL-C level group, the BMI, blood pressure, glucose and lipid metabolism, and liver function were adversely affected. The decrease in HDL-C was significantly greater in evacuees than non-evacuees in the normal HDL-C level group. Furthermore, a multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the evacuation was significantly associated with the incidence of hypo-HDL cholesterolemia.
Conclusion This is the first study to evaluate how the evacuation affected the incidence of hypo-HDL cholesterolemia and led to an increase in cardiovascular disease. This information may be important in the follow-up and lifestyle change recommendations for evacuees.