Why global warming could lead to a rise of 100,000 diabetes cases a year in the U.S.
If the average temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius, sea levels will rise, crop yields will fall and vulnerable species will see their habitat shrink or disappear.
Experts have previously predicted that climate change could fuel the spread of conditions such as malaria and dengue fever, because rising temperatures will broaden the range of disease-spreading mosquitoes. Likewise, as extreme weather becomes more of the norm, so will cholera and other water-borne illnesses.
But diabetes is different. It doesn't spread like an infectious disease. People develop type 2 diabetes when their extra pounds and sedentary lifestyle make their bodies less sensitive to insulin. That, in turn, causes their blood sugar to rise and can eventually lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney problems and other serious health issues.
A 2015 study of eight adults with Type 2 diabetes found that after spending 10 days in moderately cold weather, their metabolisms improved and they became more sensitive to insulin, reversing a key symptom of the disease.
Comparing the two, they found that the higher the average temperature in a particular time and place, the higher the age-adjusted incidence of diabetes. Overall, as the average annual temperature rose by 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), the number of diabetes cases rose by 3.1 per 10,000 people.
Obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, and the researchers also found that each 1-degree Celsius temperature increase was associated with a 0.173% increase in the prevalence of obesity.
Even when the researchers adjusted for the preva Continue reading