Global Warming and Diabetes
Incidence of diabetes linked to rising temperatures
Diabetes is on a rapid rise, with estimates of 642 million diabetes patients by the year 2040, a 55% increase from 2015. Scientists have begun to question whether the increasing global temperature could have any correlation with diabetes incidence and glucose intolerance.
Previous studies have shown that exposing patients to a colder temperature for as short as 10 days can improve insulin sensitivity due to activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT, considered the body’s good fat, is known to convert lipids into body heat. By increasing the mobility of fatty acids towards BAT, glucose transport is increased to other metabolically active tissues. Researchers hypothesized that increasing global temperatures could correspond to a negative impact on BAT activity, thus leading to an increase in type 2 diabetes and glucose intolerance worldwide. Using a patient population residing in the 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands from 1996-2013, researchers used the National Diabetes Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control to find state and territory specific incidence of diabetes. A meta-regression analysis was performed from each separate state/territory to find the association between temperature and age-adjusted diabetes incidence rates. A worldwide meta-regression analysis was also performed to analyze the global correlation in 190 countries between prevalence of rising blood glucose, average annual temperature, and income data from the World Bank income group. A separate meta-analysis wa Continue reading