Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Air pollution plays significant role in diabetes

Air pollution plays significant role in diabetes

Pollution is thought to reduce the body's insulin production, "preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health", according to the research.

Then, they sifted through all research related to diabetes and outdoor air pollution and devised a model to evaluate diabetes risk across various pollution levels. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis collaborated with those at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Healthcare System to study the effects of air pollutants. Researchers have found that in 2016,7 cases of diabetes have been registered and the reason behind is Air Pollution. "Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened", he added. In the year 2016, a study was reported where air pollution was reported to be contributing up to 3.2 million of the new diabetes cases that are 14% of the total across the globe.

According to the United Nations 2018 Sustainable Development Goals Report, an estimated 4.2 million people died as a result of high levels of ambient air pollution.

Diabetes affects more than 420 million people worldwide including 30 million Americans, and is growing at one of the fastest rates of any disease.

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The particles that are present in places that suffer excess air pollution are made up of dust, dirt, and smoke from the chimneys and industries mixed with liquid droplets.

Diabetologist Dr Ambrish Mithal agrees that inflammation is one of the factors in developing diabetes, in addition to other risk factors like poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. This study attributed that 150,000 new cases a year are linked to air pollution.

They looked at data from 1.7 million United States veterans who were followed for a median of 8.5 years, none of whom had a history of diabetes. "We now know that air pollution is a very important cause of heart disease and stroke and contributes to chronic lung disease, lung cancer and chronic kidney disease". That ads up to 350,000 years of healthy life lost annually.

Patient information from the veterans was compared to air quality information to examine the relationship between pollution and diabetes risk.

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In veterans exposed to air pollution between 5 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, much less than the EPA safe level of 12 micrograms, approximately 21 percent developed diabetes.

Over 3 million people in Britain were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

"The team in St. Louis is doing important research to firm up links between pollution and health conditions such as diabetes", said commission member Philip J. Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who is the dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY and chair of its Department of Preventive Medicine. For more readings on this study, check out the report on The Lancet.

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