Diabetes & Endocrinology

Global warming contributing to the worldwide diabetes epidemic

Global warming is contributing to the current worldwide diabetes epidemic according to a study done in the Netherlands.

In recent years the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide. It has been estimated that there will be up to 642 million cases by 2040. Obesity is a major contributor to diabetes epidemic. Past research has showed that acclimatization of patients with type 2 diabetes to moderate cold for only ten days improves insulin sensitivity. Researchers determined that cold exposure activates brown adipose tissue (BAT), which uses large amounts of lipids to generate heat. It was further observed that BAT activity is negatively associated with outdoor temperature.

A new study done at the Leiden University Medical Centre by Dr. Hanno Pijl and group assessed the association between outdoor temperature and diabetes incidence in the USA as well as the prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide.

Researchers found that the diabetes incidence rate in the USA and the prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide increased with higher outdoor temperature. The findings, which were reported in the BMJ journal, indicate that a 1°C rise in environmental temperature would account for over 100,000 new diabetes cases per year in the USA alone.

Further work needs to be done to understand the effects of environmental temperature on glucose metabolism and the onset of diabetes.


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