Researchers think type 2 diabetes risk may be in the air

Endocrinologists are increasingly coming to the belief that pollutants in the air may increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Research has suggested that there may be a correlation. Now, a new study will try to confirm the link.

A team of researchers from the Michigan State University is planning on studying the effect of air pollution in a group of participants over a five-year period, according to the Detroit Free Press. The investigators think that there may be a strong connection between environmental pollutants and high blood pressure, abdominal fat, blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes.

Jack Harkema, who will lead the study, said that the effect of air pollutants may be similar to that of cigarette smoke. It is no surprise that smoking harms lung tissue. However, it may be harder to intuit that it also damages cardiovascular function. Similarly, it is reasonable to believe that smog in the air may have an effect outside of the lungs.

"It's that [pollutants are] going to enhance the cardiovascular and metabolic problems associated with obesity," he told the news source. "We think air pollution can cause some of the same things that a bad diet does."

The study is attempting to build on previous research that indicates a possible link between air particles and diabetes risk. A study published last year in the journal Diabetes Care compared pollution data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It showed that individuals living in high-pollution areas are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The new study, which will examine the effect of pollution on individuals rather than populations, will complement this prior research in an effort to further establish the link between air pollution and type 2 diabetes.
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