Category Archives: Air Pollution

Air Pollution and Diabetes

A recent study finds that exposure to air pollution is linked to increased glucose intolerance – a diabetes precursor. German researchers pointed out that the effect is particularly strong in prediabetic people due to their abnormal high blood sugar levels.

The study covered 2,944 individuals all over Augsburg, Germany. The participants’ glucose levels, metabolic measures and levels of air pollutants in the area where they live, which include nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, have been tracked and measured.

The study reported that for most of the participants, with 7.9 microgram per cm increase in soot and particulate matter, there is a 15 percent increase in insulin resistance – a Type 2 Diabetes marker. On smoggy days, the level of particulate matter increases to more than 50 microgram per cm. For prediabetics, the risk of developing Diabetes 2 increases to almost 46 percent per unit increase in air pollution. The researchers also took into account other variables, which may include, body mass index, smoking and socioeconomic status.

The underlying reasons are not yet well understood. And though the findings are correlated, drawing out a hard proof for cause and effect is not possible. Nevertheless, researchers believed that air pollution causes increase in body-wide inflammation and high levels of oxidative stress, thus leading to insulin resistance.
Annette Peters, the research senior author and a Harvard professor said that for individuals who already have a bad metabolism, adding the air pollution will only make their condition worst. Hence, they really need to change and adopt a healthy lifestyle not only to improve their health but also to counter the effects of air pollution.