Thursday, June 07, 2012

Study links air pollution with chronic heart disease

Repeated heart attacks could be result of high air pollution
Long-term impact of air pollution is worrying: Experts.

Many studies have confirmed the dangers of air pollution when it comes to respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease.

But now a researcher at the Tel Aviv University has shown that air pollution can also be a risk factor for repeated episodes over time.

Dr. Yariv Gerber of TAU’s School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine followed cardiac patients in high pollution areas and found they were more than 40 percent more likely to have a second heart attack than patients living in low pollution areas.

Inhalation of air pollutants irritates the inflammatory system and can thus contribute to repeated cardiac events, he says.

Study examined long-term impact of air pollution

The study involved 1,120 first time MI-patients under the age of 65, who were followed for a period of 19 years.

The researchers kept track of the air quality through 21 monitoring stations in the areas where the patients lived and adjusted results for other factors such as socio-economic status and disease severity.

Nevertheless the strong association between high levels of air pollution and recurrent vascular events such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure, often resulting in death, remained.

According to Dr. Gerber, the impact of air pollution may be even stronger, since people may be exposed to higher level of pollutants than they were getting form the air monitoring stations.

Doctors should raise awareness about the dangers of air pollution in vulnerable groups and suggest ways to limit exposure, he says.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

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