Doctors are studying the effects of climate change on diabetes
The negative effects of global climate change on our environment should be known to most people by now. Researchers have now found that the ever warming earth will lead to increased cases of type 2 diabetes.
Scientists at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that global warming will increase the number of cases of type 2 diabetes. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "BMJ Open Open Diabetes Research & Care".
Even an increase in global temperature by just one degree has a big impact
The increase in ambient temperature by just one degree Celsius means that more than 100,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes will occur in the United States alone, the experts say. The authors of the study further explained that the so-called brown fat is activated over a period of a few cold days. There is a difference between brown and white fat. When brown fat is activated, it leads to an improvement in body sensitivity to insulin. This hormone helps convert sugar from food into energy.
Brown adipose tissue generates warmth and maintains body temperature
The function of brown adipose tissue is to burn fat. This is how heat is generated to prevent a drop in body temperature due to the exposure to cold, explains author Lisanne Blauw from the Leiden University Medical Center.
When hot, brown fat is not as active
We assume that brown fat plays an important role in the mechanism that underlies an association between outside temperature and diabetes, the experts explain. Brown warmer is less active in warmer climates, which may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
At least part of the effect is related to the brown fat
Before moving to a colder area now, it is important to note that this study cannot prove a direct cause and effect relationship between warmer temperatures and the development of type 2 diabetes, the doctors say. On the basis of the so-called brown fat hypothesis, we suspect that at least part of the effect can be explained by the activity of the brown fat, according to the author Blauw.
More and more people around the world suffer from diabetes
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing around the world. In 2015, around 415 million people worldwide suffered from the disease. By 2040, this number is expected to increase to 642 million, the scientists say.
With a long cold, the insulin resistance improves
A recent study has already shown that people with type 2 diabetes who have a moderate cold over a period of ten days have improved insulin resistance. This means that those affected use insulin more efficiently, the researchers explain. The effect could be triggered by an increase in fat activity. Brown fat is most active in winter when the temperatures are coldest, the authors add.
Study analyzes data from 50 different U.S. States
For their current study, the researchers examined data from adults in 50 U.S. States, along with Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The data came from the period from 1996 to 2009. The study team also looked at the data from the World Health Organization (WHO) on blood sugar levels and obesity rates in 190 countries.
In warmer areas of the world, people have increased insulin resistance
In the current study, we were able to prove that an increase in outside temperature is related to an increase in new diabetes cases in the USA, says the study author Blauw. Although the researchers had no information on diabetes diagnoses worldwide, they saw signs that people in warmer areas had increased insulin resistance.
Global warming has serious health implications
People need to understand that global warming can have a serious impact on our health, the authors explain. The results show that more people are diagnosed with diabetes in countries where the mean outside temperature is elevated, Blauw adds. The researchers' database is based on self-reported cases of diabetes, which could lead to overestimation or underestimation of diabetes rates, which is why further studies are required for a final assessment. (as)