In a new study, researchers found that exposure to common household chemicals is linked to lower heart disease rates in people with diabetes.
These chemicals exist in nonstick cookware, cleaning products and paint.
The finding may help develop new treatments for heart disease in diabetic adults.
The research was conducted by a team from West Virginia University.
In the study, the team found that greater exposure to chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances was linked to lower rates of existing coronary heart disease in adults with diabetes.
Perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are considered a public health threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They were popularized by various industries in the 1940s because of their ability to repel oil and water.
In this study, the researchers examined the link of blood PFAS levels to coronary heart disease.
They used data from a large, community-based project launched in 2005. The data were from 5,270 adults with diabetes.
They found that in these diabetic patients, the diagnosis of coronary heart disease declined with increasing blood levels of four PFAS.
The PFAS were also inversely related to the likelihood of coronary heart disease in adults without diabetes, but these associations were far less pronounced than in people with the condition.
It remains unknown exactly how PFAS might lower heart disease risk.
The team explains that several factors may lead to the inverse association.
For example, PFAS may reduce inflammation. It’s also possible that PFAS increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin or the ability to transport oxygen. All of these effects might promote heart health.
The researchers say that if longitudinal studies can confirm the current findings, it is possible to develop new therapies for preventing coronary heart disease in people with diabetes.
The lead author of the study is Kim Innes from the WVU School of Public Health.
The study is published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.
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