Heart Attack Risk Heightened By Air Pollution

It should come as no real surprise that air pollution isn’t healthy for our bodies. Countless studies have revealed the adverse impact that pollutants have on our overall health, but new research shows that poor air quality and high pollution can lead to an increased risk for heart attack.

 

In fact, two studies confirmed this fear over the past week, proving pollution can be damaging to the heart. One study dealt predominantly with heart damage while the other focused in on the likeliness of stroke.

 

The first study began by collecting all the information from past research conducted that would reveal any correlation between air pollution and heart attacks. Of all this information, researchers then narrowed it down to 34 studies that were relevant.

 

Upon completion of in depth review, the conclusion was that people who were exposed to higher levels of pollutants and air pollution are anywhere from 0.5% to 5% more likely to have a heart attack that same day or even the day after. This main chemicals found in these types of pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

 

While it’s believed that those in good health should see little impact, the risk is still present and unfortunately this is one risk that cannot be avoided. When looked at one a larger scale, meaning not just individual health but the entire population, the impact may be a bit greater.

 

The second study that came out this week was conducted by researchers at Brown University. This one dealt specifically with the association between air pollution and stroke risk. The type of pollution involved in the study was mainly that which is emitted from vehicles. What researchers found was alarming to say the least. Even levels that are below what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems as unsafe can raise stroke risk.

 

To further test these beliefs, the researchers looked at the information from patients who had been admitted to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center between 1999 and 2008. They also gathered information regarding air quality in the areas near the hospital as well as the areas that patients were coming from. The result was that the risk of stroke within a 24-hour period of being exposed to a certain amount of air pollution is believed to be a staggering 34% higher.

 

The main pollutants responsible for the damage are believed to be black carbon and nitrogen dioxide.

 

Researchers are hoping that with this new information out in the open, perhaps the EPA will make changes to what they classify as a relatively safe air quality day.


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