Climate change may be upping your risk of diabetes
Global warming, already linked to countless human health problems, may be increasing the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, including 100,000 or more new annual cases in the United States alone, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
The worrisome finding comes at a time when the world is living through the hottest years on record, and the incidence of diabetes has reached epidemic levels. Worldwide, the number of people with diabetes has roughly quadrupled since 1980.
More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million have pre-diabetes, putting them at risk for developing the disease. People with diabetes either don’t make enough insulin (Type 1) or can’t use insulin properly (Type 2), resulting in a buildup of blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation of toes, feet, or legs.
To be sure, heat exacerbates many chronic health conditions, including diabetes. “Hot weather can be more difficult for people with diabetes,” says Mona Sarfaty, director of the Consortium on Climate Change and Health, who was not involved in the study.
“The heat keeps people from being active, which means they expend less calories, which can lead to more weight gain,” a major risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, she said. “Also, people with diabetes often have kidney problems. Dehydration — which comes with heat — can worsen kidney problems when people are dehydrated.”
The development of Type 2 diabetes has long been linked to the growing problem of o Continue reading