Pollution linked to diabetes risk for black women

Tue, 17 Jan 2012
A new study from the United States has revealed that black women face a higher risk of developing diabetes and elevated blood pressure if they live in an area with high levels of traffic pollution.

The research, involving over 4,000 black women in Los Angeles over a 10-year period and published in Circulation, showed that black women who live in areas of high levels of nitrogen oxides, which are pollutants from traffic exhaust, had 25 per cent more chance of suffering from diabetes, as well as being at a 14 per cent greater risk of developing hypertension than women who live in places with cleaner air.

As well as checking for levels of nitrogen oxides, the researchers also measured amounts of fine particulate matter from traffic, industry and power plants that contribute to air pollution, as they are believed to a narrowing of blood vessels, potentially leading to a reduced sensitivity to insulin and high blood pressure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have claimed that around 11 per cent of black women in the US have diabetes and that forty-four per cent have high blood pressure, as compared with about seven per cent and roughly 28 per cent, respectively, of white women. In addition, previous studies have shown that air pollution was linked to conditions including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and that black Americans also face higher levels of air pollution than their white counterparts.
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