Air Pollution Can Impact on Type 2 Diabetes Risk

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The Trouble with Fine Particles

Tiny particles of pollution in the air, called fine particulate matter, can be inhaled and increase the risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. PM2.5 is a particle with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers and high levels of this pollutant has previously been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, most of the studies in this area have taken place in high-income countries with relatively less pollution and were conducted over a short period of time. In other countries with very high levels of PM2.5, such as India, these is now new research that this may be an important contributor to the T2D in that country.

Studying Pollution and Diabetes

Scientists looked at 12,064 adult participants in Chennai and Delhi, India. They wanted to see how the polluted air affects blood glucose and type 2 diabetes. Their study showed that a difference of 10 micrometers per cubic meter in monthly average exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an increased fasting plasma glucose and 1.22 times increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes.

Fighting Diabetes with Cleaner Air

The study suggests a link between air pollution and higher blood sugar and a greater risk of developing diabetes in India. This shows that specific policies to reduce air pollution could help to reduce the burden of diabetes in India.