New Study Reports Link between Air Pollution and High Risk of Diabetes

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Findings of the study reported that reducing pollution may lower diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted counties such as the U.S.

Diabetes is one of the major chronic condition, which affects more than 420 million people worldwide. Major factors triggering risk of developing diabetes are unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. However, research study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System reported that outdoor air pollution can increase risk of developing diabetes. The findings of study were published on June 29, 2018 in the Lancet Planetary Health.

As a part of study to analyze link between outdoor air pollution and diabetes, the researchers examined particulate matter, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets the risk of diabetes by analyzing data from 1.7 million U.S. veterans who did not have history of diabetes. Furthermore, patient data was linked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) land-based air monitoring systems as well as space-borne satellites operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They used several statistical models and tested the validity against controls such as ambient air sodium concentrations, which have no link to diabetes and lower limb fractures, which have no link to outdoor air pollution.

The study found that overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is inclined more toward lower-income countries such as India while the U.S. experiences a moderate risk of pollution-related diabetes. In the U.S, the study attributed 150,000 new cases of diabetes per year to air pollution and 350,000 years of healthy life lost annually. The researchers estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016, which represented around 14% of all new diabetes cases globally.

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