Environmental pollution linked to the high prevalence of diabetes in our country
With air pollution at an all time high in our city, it is becoming crucial that immediate steps are taken to reduce the environmental burden. Pollution has various hazardous effects on a person’s health. It precipitates asthma, heart attacks and COPD. Recent research has also proved that environmental pollution, especially with high particulate matter PM 2.5 exposure, is linked with diabetes.
Any particulate matter of less than 2.5 micro m3 in size can get absorbed from respiratory system, enter into the blood and release pro–inflammatory products leading to endothelial dysfunction and resultant diabetes and heart disease.
As per WHO, the content of PM2.5 in the air should be less than 10 μg/m3. However in India the levels are always more than 60 μg/m3. In fact an 60 μg/m3 PM2.5 concentration has been accepted as normal in India. That means that an Indian is already six times more exposed to PM2.5 particulate as opposed to his western counterpart. In India, we find values as high as 300–400 μg/m3 in selected areas on a daily basis. Constant exposure to PM 2.5 particulates leads to endothelial dysfunction, one of the major factors for the increasing diabetics in the country.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K K Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said, “ Air Pollution is a modifiable risk factor for development of diabetes in our country. People with a history of diabetes in the family, at high risk of the disease must take necessary steps to protect themselves from the harmful air by restricting their outdoor exertion levels. They must also ensure that they keep a check on their diet and get regular exercise especially during early mornings when the air is said to be purer. There is a dire need to raise awareness about the need to reduce environmental pollution in our country. The air we presently breathe is extremely harmful for patients with existing lifestyle diseases, the young and the elderly and it is the responsibility of each citizen to reverse this.”
To prevent oneself from diabetes, it is advised that one should avoid eating refined carbohydrates, omit carbohydrates 80 days in a year from diet and avoid exposure to high PM2.5 pollution matter (which can be checked from the official governmental website), exercise more and try to eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables which are live, locally grown and seasonal.