Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another reason to deal with stress promptly

Children's response to air pollution is worse
if they live in high-stress households.
Anyone trying to manage young children, work, household and other facets of life will tell you that stress is simply unavoidable – but a high-stress life can impact the children’s health, a new study found.

Reuters Health reported earlier this summer that children living in high-stress households are more vulnerable to lung damage from traffic pollution than children whose parents are less stressed out.

The study was done in southern California and measured nitrogen oxide levels in the area as well as various indicators of lung function in nearly 1,400 children.

Nitogen oxides are formed when fuel is burned. They can damage lung tissue and aggravate asthma.

Children living with stressed-out parents suffered more from air pollution

Researchers found that for kids from high-stress homes, when the average amount of nitrogen oxides in the air went up by 22 parts per billion, their lung function got roughly five percent worse.

That same increase in pollutants around a child whose parents had a low level of stress made no difference to their lung function, however.

An earlier study by some of the same researchers found that children exposed to traffic-related air pollution and a high-stress home were 51 percent more likely to develop asthma than children exposed to the same pollutants, but in a low-stress environment (see Reuters Health report, July 21, 2009).

The exact link is not known, but stress and pollutants are both tied to inflammation and tissue damage.

Source: Reuters

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