People with type 2 diabetes who live next to heavy traffic, and take insulin, have increased inflammation compared to lower traffic areas, new research shows.
This two-year study was conducted by researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine, who evaluated 356 Puerto Rican adults with type 2 diabetes in the Boston area.
26 per cent of participants used insulin, while 55 per cent treated their type 2 diabetes with oral medication and 19 per cent used no diabetes medication.
Roughly 20 per cent lived within 100 metres of one of more roads with over 20,000 vehicles a day, while 20 per cent lived between 100-200 metres of roads with over 20,000 vehicles per day.
Researchers measured concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, in participants prior to the study and two years afterwards.
CRP concentration increased between 75 and 200 per cent among those in the highest traffic areas, but this was not the case for those taking oral medication in the same area. CRP concentrations were markedly lower in this group despite exposure to the highest traffic density.
Study author Christine Rioux, PhD, MS, research assistant professor in the department of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, explained: “People who live near busy roads and spend most of their time in these areas have been shown in many studies to have higher levels of inflammation, a risk factor for many cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
“People on insulin appear to be even more susceptible to increases in inflammation when living in high traffic areas. People can reduce their exposure to traffic pollution by keeping windows closed during the heaviest traffic periods of the day, using air conditioners in the summer months, and avoiding heavy exercise near busy roads, especially during peak traffic times.”
Earlier this year, research in Germany suggested that traffic-related air pollution was linked to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes developing in children.

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