A new study highlights the serious health risk posed to diabetic hearts by the increasingly dire problem of air pollution.
If you’re a woman who suffers from diabetes and lives in a densely populated metropolitan area, you may want to consider taking some time away from the city to get some fresh air. According to US News & World Report, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has shown that long periods of exposure to air pollution, like car exhaust and smog, significantly increases the heart risks faced by diabetic women.
The study built on previous data to determine the link between diabetic females and cardiac health risks induced by exposure to smog. While air pollution is not good for anybody, the study found that women suffering from diabetes are particularly vulnerable.
According to the study’s lead author, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “There’s pretty robust literature about the short-term effects of air pollution suggesting those with diabetes are at risk, so it’s nice that our results actually went along with that.”
Heart disease has been linked to diabetes for years. Diabetes affects 29 million people in the U.S., and the leading cause of death among these patients is heart disease and stroke. The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that 65 percent of people with diabetes die from these causes.
The study analyzed more than 114,000 women with an average age of 64. The data was gathered over the course of the Nurses’ Health Study, which began in 1976. The recent study showed that exposure to three different sizes of particulate matter in the air had a significant effect on the likelihood of a diabetic patient suffering from a stroke or cardiac arrest.
The study only examined data collected on women, but Dr. John Day from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, UT believes that air pollution would have a similar effect on men with diabetes.
A press release from the American Heart Association outlining the details of the study can be found here.