Air Pollution Can Increase the Risk of Diabetes

pollution from chimney

It is a widely known fact that lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, genetics, and a bad diet can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes. However, a new global study has come up with some shocking revelations that point towards the role of air pollution in triggering the onset of diabetes. Pollution emitted by four-wheelers are said to be the major culprits.

It is also true that a number of researches have revealed a link between diabetes and air pollution in the past. The latest study enumerates how air pollution can contribute to diabetes cases across the world. It is revealed that 14% of diabetes for the year 2016 was linked to air pollution! In another shocking study, it was revealed that air pollution is responsible for around 150,000 cases of diabetes in the United States. The pollution is known to be the direct cause for increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the most updated air quality database (the year 2018), it is revealed that over 80% of people living in urban areas breathe air that fails to meet the WHO guidelines.


Diabetes is a chronic disease, a condition that reduces the ability of the body to produce the hormone, insulin resulting in higher blood sugar levels. Although a treatable condition, certain complications associated with it can result in stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease.

A data from the WHO reveals that in the year 2014, around 8.5 percent of adults developed diabetes. The following year, the condition leads to around 1.6 million deaths.

You may also like to know that some superfoods can prevent and fight diabetes


Air Pollution – How it Causes Diabetes?

Although the precise mechanism behind the connection between air pollution and diabetes has not yet been proven, studies by scientists have revealed that certain pollutants can enter bloodstream upon being breathed in. These also interact with tissues and organs to increases the chances of developing diabetes. Interactions of pollutants tend to disrupt the body in the long term to alter sensitivity insulin and its production.

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It is crucial to take note of the fact that risk of pollution-related diabetes is higher in lower-income countries such as China, India, and Indonesia, which do not have any substantial clean air policies. On the other hand, wealthier nations such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, have a lower risk.

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The Solution

Air pollution is a global issue. Statistics say that low-income cities are the most affected. Experts recommend pregnant women to stay at home during days of high pollution levels in the air. This is important to avoid babies develop gestational diabetes. Another way is to have more limits that are stringent on fossil-fuel emissions. Health experts advise moving to cleaner energy sources. This is very important because pollution of all kinds is responsible for killing three times more people as compared to diseases such as malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis combined.