Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Global warming implicated in the rising diabetes prevalence

Global warming implicated in the rising diabetes prevalence Global warming may be contributing to the worldwide epidemic of diabetes, suggests a new study from The Netherlands published online in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. In the year 2015, 415 million adults globally had diabetes and this number is estimated to rise up to 642 million cases by 2040, an increase of almost by 55%. Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center attempted to investigate if global increases in temperature were contributing to the current rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes by negatively affecting the glucose metabolism via a reduction in brown adipose tissue activity. Data on diabetes incidence amongst adults in 50 states of the USA and three territories (Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands) for the years 1996 to 2009 from the National Diabetes Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was used in the study. On average, with every 1°C rise in temperature, age-adjusted incidence of diabetes was found to increase by 0.314 per 1,000 in the US. The global prevalence of glucose intolerance also increased by 0.17% per 1°C rise in temperature in mean annual temperature. Overall, warmer countries tended to have a higher prevalence of glucose intolerance. This effect of warmer temperatures on glucose metabolism has been linked to brown adipose tissue. It has been shown earlier that colder temperatures can activate brown fat and improve insulin action and sensitivity. Therefore, it was hypothesized that warmer temperatures could have the opposite effect; decrease in activity of the brown adipose tissue could reduce insulin sensitivity and an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Although this study did not establish a cause and effect relationship between global warming and type 2 diabetes, the fact remains that climate change is real and is a major challenge of the 21st century, which needs to be tackled urgently. The impact of climate change are global and not limited to a particular region of the world. Climate change affects the environment and consequentially human health both directly and indirectly. Climate change directly affects five components of the environment: water, air, weather, oceans, and ecosystems. Through changes in the environment in the form of extreme heat and cold waves, floods and droughts, typhoons, hurricanes, worsening air quality and other natural disasters, it indirectly affects human health. Many vector-borne diseases such as dengue, Chikungunya are showing a resurgence making them more difficult and challenging to control. Moreover, they are being redistributed across the world to areas that are currently not endemic for these diseases. Not only infectious diseases, non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes have also been linked to climate change. (Source: BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. 2017, Volume 5, Issue 1)

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