Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s response to insulin, a hormone, decreases, resulting in an inability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.
In severe cases, this can result in patients experiencing nerve damage and kidney issues.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, an unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity.
A recent research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism of the Endocrine Society suggests that estrogen-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plastics may also increase the risk of diabetes in women.
Phthalates are compounds that are often found in plastics, including those used in toys, personal care items, and the packaging of food and beverages.
Exposure to phthalates is linked to decreased fertility, diabetes, and other endocrine diseases.
The findings of study revealed “phthalates may contribute to a higher incidence of diabetes in women, especially White women, over a six-year period,” remarks author Sung Kyun Park. “People are exposed to phthalates daily increasing their risk of several metabolic diseases. It’s important that we address EDCs now as they are harmful to human health.”
The researchers examined 1,308 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) over a period of six years to see if phthalates contributed to the development of diabetes in this sample.
During the course of the study, around 5% of the women got diabetes.
When urine samples were taken from these women in the early 2000s, the amount of phthalates in their urine was about the same as that of middle-aged women in the U.S.
When compared to Black and Asian women, White women exposed to high levels of certain phthalates had a 30-63% increased risk of developing diabetes.
Mia Q. Peng, Carrie A. Karvonen-Gutierrez, Bhramar Mukherjee, and William H. Herman of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Medical School in Ann Arbor, Mich., also contributed to this work.
The National Institutes of Health, SWAN Repository, National Center for Research Resources, and National Center for Advancing Transnational Sciences all provided funding for the research.
“Our research is a step in the right direction towards better understanding phthalates’ effect on metabolic diseases, but further investigation is needed,” Park adds.
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