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4 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Even at 'safe' levels, air pollution may boost diabetes risk

Even at 'safe' levels, 
air pollution may 
boost diabetes risk

Add another health harm to air pollution: New research suggests it might increase the risk of diabetes, even at levels considered safe. Cutting air pollution could reduce diabetes rates in countries with both higher and lower levels of air pollution, the researchers said.

"Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally," said study senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly. He's an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

"We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization," Al Aly said in a university news release.

"This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened," he added.

But the findings did not prove that air pollution causes diabetes.

Air pollution risk is a function of the hazard of the pollutant and the exposure to that pollutant. Air pollution exposure can be expressed for an individual, for certain groups (e.g. neighborhoods or children living in a country), or for entire populations. For example, one may want to calculate the exposure to a hazardous air pollutant for a geographic area, which includes the various microenvironments and age groups. This can be calculated as an inhalation exposure. This would account for daily exposure in various settings (e.g. different indoor micro-environments and outdoor locations). The exposure needs to include different age and other demographic groups, especially infants, children, pregnant women and other sensitive subpopulations. The exposure to an air pollutant must integrate the concentrations of the air pollutant with respect to the time spent in each setting and the respective inhalation rates for each subgroup for each specific time that the subgroup is in the setting and engaged in particular activities (playing, cooking, reading, working, etc.). For example, a small child's inhalation rate will be less than that of an adult. A child engaged in vigorous exercise will have a higher respiration rate than the same child in a sedentary activity. The daily exposure, then, needs to reflect the time spent in each micro-environmental setting and the type of activities in these settings. The air pollutant concentration in each microactivity/microenvironmental setting is summed to indicate the exposure.  In the study, the researchers estimated that air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases worldwide in 2016, or about 14 percent of all new cases that year. They also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost worldwide in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes.

In the United States, air pollution is linked with 150,000 new cases of diabetes a year and 350,000 years of healthy life lost each year, according to the report.

Diabetes affects more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main causes of type 2 diabetes include an unhealthy diet, inactivity and obesity, but this study highlights the significance of outdoor air pollution.

It's believed that air pollution reduces insulin production and triggers inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood sugar into energy that the body needs to maintain health, the study authors explained.

The study was published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Previous research has linked air pollution with heart disease, stroke, cancer and kidney disease.

HealthDay

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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