Climate Change Can Increase Diabetes Cases In US Suggests New Study

Climate Change Can Increase Diabetes Cases In US Suggests New Study

In 2015, diabetes affected 415 million people globally and according to the new research, the rate of number of diabetec patients in the USA may increase by more than 100,000 per year. The data included the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and Virgin Islands. The β coefficient from meta-regression analysis, representing the difference in diabetes incidence rate per 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature; red circles indicate a positive β coefficient, while blue circles indicate a negative β coefficient.

Worldwide, diabetes rates are soaring. Image credit: Lisanne L. Blauw et al, doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2016-000317. In 2015, 415 million adults globally had the condition and it is expected that prevalence will rise by nearly 55% - up to 642 million cases by 2040. In high-income countries, 91% of adults affected by diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

In the human body, the function of brown adipose tissue (BAT) is to transfer energy from food into heat and previous studies have shown that exposure to cold stimulates BAT, thus leading to modest weight loss and improved insulin action and sensitivity - making a person less likely to develop diabetes.

Previously, it has been shown that BAT activity is negatively associated with outdoor temperature.

"Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that a decrease in BAT activity with increasing environmental temperature may deteriorate glucose metabolism and increase the incidence of diabetes", they wrote.

Such findings indicated that the diabetes incidence rate in the United States of America and prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide did increase with higher outdoor temperature.

The researchers used data on diabetes incidence amongst adults in 50 states of the US and three territories (Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands) for the years 1996 to 2009 from the National Diabetes Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Global information about the blood glucose levels during fasting and obesity was taken from the online database of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Global Health Observatory. In addition, country-wise average annual temperature data was obtained via the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

The researchers found that on average, per 1°C increase in temperature, age-adjusted diabetes incidence increased by 0.314 per 1,000.

"We demonstrated that, on average, per 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature, age-adjusted diabetes incidence increased with 0.314 per 1,000", the authors said.

"Similarly, the worldwide prevalence of glucose intolerance increased by 0.170% per 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature. These associations persisted after adjustment for obesity".

Such findings indicated that the diabetes incidence rate in the United States and prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide did increase with higher outdoor temperature.

Rising global temperatures could result in an increase of more than 100,000 extra cases of diabetes each year in the U.S. alone.

Researchers are now studying the effects of change on the rate of diabetes affliction, which is a prominent health issue.

A report on the research is published online in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.