If you are obese and exposed frequently to air pollution, you have a high risk of developing diabetes, according to a recent research.
The study, authored by Dr. Frank Gilliland of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center and researcher at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, found out that short-term exposure to contaminated air was linked to an increased risk of high cholesterol and impaired processing of blood sugar – which are the risk factors for diabetes.
Researchers conducted the study among 1,000 Mexican-Americans living in southern California.
Dr. Gilliland said it is possible that air pollution causes inflammation in the body, which triggers a chain reaction that makes it harder for people to process blood sugar.
Previous research linked air pollution from traffic and other sources to an increased risk of type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes, which happens when the body can't properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
The research team examined some pollutants (ozone, nitrogen dioxide, a mixture dust, dirt, soot and smoke) and found out that these could enter the bloodstream, where they have been linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Participants were on average around 35 years old and are overweight or obese. They completed questionnaires on their dietary and exercise habits and underwent lab tests.
Weight and body fat percentage explained a significant portion of the connection.
All the participants either had diabetes during pregnancy or were related to a woman who did, however the study revealed people exposed to higher levels of overall air pollution had greater levels of insulin resistance, more sugars in their blood and higher cholesterol.
Among the study's limitations is that researchers lacked data on how long people lived at their current address, which made it impossible to assess lifetime exposure to air pollution.
[via Reuters, photo: Get Real Philippines]