New Delhi: Exposure to polluted air is associated with an increased risk of type-2 diabetes, according to a first study of its kind in India published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care journal. The study conducted in Delhi and Chennai found that inhaling air with high amounts of fine pollution particles (PM2.5) — 30 times thinner than a strand of hair — led to high blood sugar levels and increased type-2 diabetes incidence. Exposure to fine particulate matter has been associated with several cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases, the researchers said.
However, such evidence mostly originates from low-pollution settings or cross-sectional studies, thus necessitating evidence from regions with high air pollution levels, such as India, where the burden of non-communicable diseases is high, they said.
The team, including researchers from the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi, assessed a group of over 12,000 men and women from 2010 to 2017 and measured their blood sugar levels periodically.
They also used satellite data and air pollution exposure models to determine the air pollution in the locality of each participant during that time.
The study showed that one month of exposure to PM2.5 led to increased levels of blood sugar and prolonged exposure of one year or more led to higher risk of diabetes.
It also found that for every 10 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) increase in annual average PM2.5 level in the two cities, the risk for diabetes increased by 22 per cent.
There exists a major research gap due to the lack of robust exposure assessment and longitudinal studies in the large South Asian population which experiences a high burden of disease due to diabetes. The authors noted,
This study provides evidence linking short-term, medium-term and long-term exposure to PM2.5, assessed from locally developed high-resolution spatiotemporal models, glycemic markers and incidence of diabetes from a highly polluted region with a high burden of diabetes. The findings add to the existing evidence from low-pollution scenarios in the Western population.
The researchers noted that the combined evidence provides directions for devising and implementing region-specific and population-specific policies.
These policies can be targeted towards reducing ambient air pollution to counter the high burden of diabetes in order to achieve significant population-level public health gains, they said.
The team also included researchers from Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, Harvard University and Emory University, US, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.