Diabetes and Environmental Hazards
How to Improve the Health of People with Diabetes by Reducing Exposure to Environmental Hazards
Diabetes is among the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S. for men and women age 65 years and older. Exposure to environmental contaminants, such as air pollution and extreme heat, can worsen the health of persons living with diabetes. This page offers information on steps you can take to reduce your exposure to these environmental hazards. For more detailed information, please see our series of easy-to-read facts sheets and brochures.
Limiting Contact with Environmental Hazards
- What is Diabetes? Diabetes occurs when the body either fails to make enough insulin or does not properly respond to insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.
- Risks associated with diabetes: Diabetes carries an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and other long-term health problems.
- Reduce exposure to outdoor air pollution: Pay attention to Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts to know when the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Lower your outdoor activity level when the AQI is high.
- Keep smoke out of indoor spaces: Avoid smoke from tobacco. Encourage smokers to smoke outdoors. Do not use or limit use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.
- Use caution when working around the house: Improve ventilation when painting by scheduling indoor painting for times when windows can be left open and by using fans. Take frequent fresh air breaks when painting.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning: Never leave a car running in a garage, even with the garage door open. Keep gas appliances properly adjusted. Install and use exhaust fans. Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up your central heating system.
- Prevent heat stress: Use your air-conditioner or go to air-conditioned building. Drink plenty of water. Take a cool shower or bath. Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing. Ask your health care provider if your medications increase your susceptibility to heat-related illness.
- Find Your Air Quality Index
- Basic Information about Indoor Air
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- American Diabetes Association
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-020
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-021
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-020
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-09-030
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-026
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-050
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-050
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-11-006
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-033
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-11-001
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-024
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-053
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-027
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-053
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-022
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-068
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-09-023
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Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-029