Why Is An Indian Study On Air Pollution And Type 2 Diabetes An Eye-Opener?
Research conducted in the Indian capital of Delhi and the southern city of Chennai has found that inhaling air with high amounts of PM2.5 particles, which are 30 times thinner than a strand of hair, led to high blood sugar levels and increased type 2 diabetes incidence.
The BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care study is part of ongoing analysis into chronic diseases in the country that began in 2010. It is the first to focus on the connection between exposure to PM2.5 particles and type 2 diabetes in India.
Why Are Indians Relatively More Prone To Diabetes?
Researchers followed a cohort of 12,000 men and women in the two metropolises from 2010 to 2017 and measured their blood sugar levels periodically. They determined the air pollution in the locality of each participant using satellite data and air pollution exposure models.
The average annual PM2.5 levels in Delhi was 82-100 μg/m3 and in Chennai was 30-40 μg/m3, many times the WHO limits of 5 μg/m3. There is also a high burden of non-communicable diseases in the country, including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
“Given the pathophysiology of Indians … we are more prone to diabetes than the western population,” said Siddhartha Mandal, lead investigator of the study. The addition of air pollution with lifestyle changes is just fuelling the burden further.
Air Pollution Dims Cricket World Cup Cheer In India
Nonetheless, while the findings of the first of its kind study are alarming, they also offer researchers hope that bringing down pollution can reduce the burden of diabetes, said Dr Dorairaj Prabhakaran, one of the authors of the paper.
The raging issue of air pollution has cast a shadow over the Cricket World Cup in India as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) this week announced a ban on firework displays during the remaining matches of the tournament in an effort to combat pollution.