Study Shows Link Between Diabetes and Air Pollution

diabetes and air pollution

While research is fairly new, experts believe there may be a significant link between diabetes and air pollution.

We know that diabetes is a very common form of disease affecting millions of people worldwide, and we are fairly clear about the typical risk factors that contribute to its appearance. However, a recent study shoes that there may be a strong link between diabetes and air pollution.

The research behind this claim is limited and still ongoing, but so far, medical experts and scientist believe there may be a close relationship between diabetes and poor air quality, to the presence of certain pollutants in the environment.

If you are wondering “does air pollution cause diabetes?”, the truth is that the answer is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no.

The study was published on the The Lancet Planetary Health and it stipulates that the existence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in our environment could be a strong risk for the appearance of diabetes.

These POPs are man-made chemicals that pollute our air and contaminate our food, making us more prone to absorbing them through the consumption of meat, fish and dairy products as main sources.

While researchers have long believed that certain environmental factors could be behind the disease, this is the first time that diabetes and poor air quality have been linked in this way.

In order to conduct the study and find the link between diabetes and air pollution, scientists examined the different levels of POPs amongst a group of healthy candidates and a group of those that were considered obese and prone to develop diabetes or that already had the disease.

The study found that those with a higher degree of obesity, or that already live with diabetes, have higher levels of POPs in their system, as well as a difference in the way they process insulin resistance and the metabolism of glucose.

In addition, these patients with higher levels of POPs, also showed a stronger concentration of abdominal fat, which is a common risk factor for diabetes.

The experts that participated  in this study noticed that, the link between diabetes and air pollution became strong and the difference between patients somewhat clearer, even when they took certain other factors into consideration, including family history of diseases, age, ethnicity, etc.

Furthermore, the research served to prove that air pollution contributes to insulin resistance and could be a clear cause of diabetes type 2 if one takes into consideration the levels of POPs in patients, and that are present in the form of gases, particulate matter, smoke from tobacco, etc.

When one wonders does air pollution cause diabetes and reads the study, one may assume that the answer is more on the affirmative, which becomes a serious cause of concern.

Moreover, another intriguing part of the study is the fact that, the link between diabetes and air pollution is considered to be a global matter. Experts involved in the research and the development of the study estimate that this strong link was responsible for approximately “3.2 million cases of diabetes and the loss of 8.2 million years of healthy life in 2016”.

With all the information gathered through the study, these diabetes experts and scientists have been working with policy makers and other key stakeholders from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to develop programs that create conscience on this matter.

Furthermore, with their research and the results, they expect to receive the attention of the governments from all around the world, in understanding the implications to our health and the general lifespan that these pollutants have.

Finally, while this may be considered the first large and significant study of its kind, it has served to prove that there may be outstanding environmental factors that we cannot keep ignoring and that play a significant role in our well being, and it will become necessary to take due action sooner rather than later.


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