Could Diabetes Be Environmentally Caused?

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research Marketing Manager

The “Problem” we outline on the front page of our website is the basis for all we do:

    In our rush to build the world’s most expensive healthcare system, create billion dollar drug therapies and map our DNA, we have ignored one of the biggest single contributors to our health: the environment. The water we drink, the air we breath and the soil that nourishes us affects our health much more than our DNA and far more than any health plan we may choose.

Given this, it is imperative to treat environmental factors as if their solution was the difference between life and death–in fact, it could be. And while we do not give information in a cause-and-effect format with Upstream Reports, it is important to understand how certain environmental factors could be impacting you daily.

For instance, two separate studies by the American Diabetes Association were published exploring the relationship between pollution and diabetes. “Diabetes Incidence and Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution” researched over 57,000 participants exposed to frequent air pollution and followed up 9 years later. What they found: “a borderline statistically significant association was detected with confirmed cases of diabetes (1.01 [1.00-1.08])” and this association between air pollution and diabetes made worse in participants with a healthy lifestyle (Andersen, 2012). 

As with Upstream Reports, this did not yield black and white answers; it simply sought to better understand the issue.

Similarly another ADA article from 2012, “Air Pollution and Type 2 Diabetes” showed that “There are now at least six published epidemiologic studies showing some degree of association between PM-or traffic-related air pollutants and DM” and highlighted the relationship between air pollutants, endothelial function and glucose uptake (Rajagopalan).

What these case studies–and, really, what Upstream Research–seeks to show is that the environment has a large impact on our health and deserves to be treated as such.

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