Air pollution Raises Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Says Landmark Indian Study

3 Nov 2023 • A seven-year study of 12,000 residents of Delhi and Chennai has found a link between PM2.5 particles and increased blood sugar levels. Inhaling polluted air increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, the first study of its kind in India has found.

Research conducted in Delhi and the southern city of Chennai found that inhaling air with high amounts of PM2.5 particles led to high blood sugar levels and increased type 2 diabetes incidence. The average annual PM2.5 levels in Delhi was 82-100μg/m3 and in Chennai was 30-40μg/m3, according to the study, many times the WHO limits of 5μg/m3.

The Lancet study found India’s diabetes prevalence to be higher than previous estimations and showed a higher number of diabetics in urban than rural India.

  • In the BMJ study, the researchers followed a cohort of 12,000 men and women in Delhi and Chennai from 2010 to 2017 and measured their blood sugar levels periodically. Using satellite data and air pollution exposure models, they determined the air pollution in the locality of each participant in that timeframe.
  • They found that one month of exposure to PM2.5 led to elevated levels of blood sugar and prolonged exposure of one year or more led to increased risk of diabetes. They found for every 10μg/m3 increase in annual average PM2.5 level in the two cities, the risk for diabetes increased by 22%.

The combined evidence provides directions for devising and implementing region-specific and population-specific policies targeted towards reducing ambient air pollution to counter the high burden of diabetes.

Source: The Guardian | Read full story

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