Noisy city streets may prove more than just an annoyance as researchers find a link between chronic exposure to noise pollution and type 2 diabetes in animal studies.According to the Centers for Disease Control estimates, more than 29 million Americans are currently living with diabetes and up to 25% of them don’t even know it. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the US as high blood sugar can lead to heart, eye, and kidney diseases.
While being surprisingly common, type 2 diabetes mellitus is also strangely complex. Research has shown that genetics can play a large part in determining who develops the disease, but numerous environmental factors can also shape its development. Lifestyle choices including a lack of exercise and a high-fat diet can both increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. But aside from what we’re putting in our mouths, researchers are now concerned about what might be entering our ears.
Population-based studies have reported that exposure to residential traffic noises was associated with higher risks of diabetes – the longer the exposure, the stronger the link. To investigate how noise pollution could affect blood sugar levels, researchers looked to see how dietary changes and chronic-noise exposure shaped diabetes symptoms in mice. The research was recently published in the journal PLoS One.