RIYADH: JAVED IQBAL
Published — Wednesday 24 April 2013
Last update 24 April 2013 4:33 am
Environmental pollution can cause extensive problems and physical inflammation that can contribute to the increasing incident of type 2 diabetes in Saudi urban areas, said Sultan Ayoub Meo. He was speaking at a workshop in which he discussed the onslaught of pollution on urban regions.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is rampant in the Kingdom, particularly in urban areas. About 32 percent of the population is suffering from diabetes. The disease stems from factors such as ageing, a sedentary lifestyle, gluttony, obesity, socio-psychological changes, smoking, urbanization and air pollution.
Meo is a professor of physiology and a researcher at King Saud University and holds fellowships from the schools of medicine in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin.
About 347 million people are affected with diabetes across the globe and another 418 million have developed impaired glucose tolerance, an ailment related to diabetes. “Eight persons die per minute due to complications resulting from diabetes,” Meo said.
Environmental pollution comprises intoxicant chemicals, particulate matter and biological waste. Due to the rapid industrialization, the presence of these chemicals in the environment is on the rise and is working to the detriment of living organisms.
“Our respiratory system,” he stressed, “is most vulnerable to dust and fumes. They can cause pulmonary and systemic inflammation,” he said.
Occupational and environmental exposure to dust and fumes causes lung function impairment, which exacerbates insulin-resistance and increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Elaborating on the types of diabetes caused by environmental contamination, Meo observed that dust, gaseous fumes, tobacco smoke, and emissions from motor vehicles are considered major factors in triggering the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Meo has spent many years researching the disease. He observed that those living on or around motorways and busy roads are at a greater risk of contracting the ailment. He stressed that type 2 diabetes and its ensuing complications can be avoided through a healthy diet, regular physical activity, obesity control and abstinence from smoking.