Improving air quality could reduce type 2 diabetes diagnoses, research suggests

Improving air quality could reduce type 2 diabetes diagnoses, research suggests

"Pollution contributed to 3.2 million new cases of diabetes worldwide in 2016, which represents about 14% of the new cases recorded", say the researchers from the Washington Medical School in St. Louis, USA.

Researchers found that the overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is leaning more toward low-income regions more than the developed world.

"Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally", Dr. Al-Aly said.

And here's the kicker: Even people who were exposed to pollution levels that have been deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed an increased risk. "Many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed".

"Ten or 15 years ago, we thought that air pollution caused pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis and not much more than that", said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY, who was not involved in the study. The EPA regulations say that air with less than 12 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter of air is safe for the public, but his team claims this number should be closer to 2.4 micrograms.

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, considering the numbers globally are wobbling, as per World Health Organization, and adults around 422 million were diagnosed with diabetes by 2014 in comparison to 108 million back in 1980.

The findings suggest that reducing air pollution may also help curb cases of diabetes in heavily polluted countries or areas.

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Finally, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study - conducted annually with contributions from researchers worldwide - to estimate annual cases of diabetes and healthy years of life lost due to pollution.

Almost 10 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 per cent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause.

The study was carried out by Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.

Landrigan is a member of The Lancet Commission on pollution and health, which released a report previous year estimating that pollution was responsible for 9 million premature deaths worldwide in 2015. The current levels as per a proof show that it yet not adequate and require constriction.

Talking about the lack of efforts over the past few years to improve the condition of diabetes, Al-Aly said, "Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution". According to the study, one in seven cases of diabetes has been caused by air pollution. They also looked at particulate matters, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets. Around 14 percent of all new diabetes cases across the world that year could be attributed to pollution.

Scientists believe that tiny particles of pollution enter the body and lead to reduced insulin production, as well as chronic inflammation, thus preventing the body from converting blood glucose (sugar) into energy. Wealthier countries (such as France, Finland, and Iceland) faced a low risk, and the United States faced a moderate risk.

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