The media is touting a new study claiming global warming could be, at least in part, to blame for the “diabetes epidemic” sweeping the globe.
“When it gets warmer, there is higher incidence of diabetes,” Lisanne Blauw, a Ph.D. candidate at the Netherlands-based Einthoven Laboratory and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post Tuesday.
“It’s important to realize global warming has further effects on our health, not only on the climate,” Blauw said.
Blauw and her colleagues wrote “the diabetes incidence rate in the USA and prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide increase with higher outdoor temperature” based on a meta-analysis of 14 years of data on diabetes and temperature in U.S. states.
Researchers hypothesize “the global increase in temperature contributes to the current type 2 diabetes epidemic” since warmer weather could inhibit brown adipose tissue (BAT) that turns food into energy for the body.
That could reduce the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, making Type 2 diabetes more likely.
“Hot weather can be more difficult for people with diabetes,” Mona Sarfaty, director of the Consortium on Climate Change and Health, told Popular Science.
“The heat keeps people from being active, which means they expend less calories, which can lead to more weight gain,” Sarfaty said. “Also, people with diabetes often have kidney problems. Dehydration — which comes with heat — can worsen kidney problems when people are dehydrated.”
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