Air Pollution Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Risk Increase

By Alberta Herman

May 25, 2024


Air pollution is a major concern in urban areas around the world, including Mumbai. The impact of polluted air on health has been well-documented, with studies showing links to various health problems such as chronic lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. However, recent research is shedding light on a new potential risk associated with breathing polluted air – an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. 


Studies from the US, Europe, China, and now India have shown that exposure to air pollutants like PM2.5 can lead to higher blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A recent study published in the Journal of Association of Physicians of India (JAPI) highlighted this connection between air pollution and diabetes. Dr V Mohan from Chennai explained that PM2.5 acts as an endocrine disruptor that affects insulin secretion and leads to insulin resistance. 


The study conducted by Dr Mohan along with researchers from the Public Health Foundation of India focused on two cities - Delhi and Chennai - where they found a significant association between exposure to PM2.5 and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. The study involved over 12,000 adults over a seven-year period and showed that even a small increase in PM2.5 exposure was linked to higher blood sugar levels. 


Dr Anoop Misra emphasized the importance of considering factors like excess body fat when analyzing the link between air pollution and diabetes but acknowledged that there is already established evidence supporting this connection. 


Dr Mangesh Tiwaskar pointed out that while air pollution is just one contributing factor to India's diabetes epidemic, it is a preventable cause unlike other sources such as soil pollution or poor sanitation practices. 


Dr Shashank Joshi highlighted how climate change impacts disease patterns through changes in weather patterns exacerbated by factors like air pollution from vehicles or industrial sources. 


Despite the concerning findings linking air pollution to Type 2 diabetes risks, there is hope for prevention through legislative measures targeting major sources of contamination such as burning stubble by farmers or vehicle emissions according to JAPI article authors. 


Moving forward more rigorous trials are needed according to Dr Misra specifically focusing on interventions like facemasks or purifiers used in high-risk populations for better understanding strategies for mitigating these risks associated with breathing polluted air especially prevalent in densely populated urban areas like Mumbai.  

In conclusion breathing clean fresh unpolluted can help reduce our chances getting type- two-diabetes


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