Heart disease risk increases due to pollution: Study

WEB DESK: Air pollution has become one of the leading causes of death, and it comes as no surprise that it raises the risk of heart diseases especially worsening the risk factors, in diabetics, a new study revealed.

According to Science Daily, previous studies have found link between particle pollution, called the particulate matter, and heart disease. However, it was not clear, how exposure to particulate matter leads to diseases of the cardiovascular system.

But now, direct evidence have been found after a 10-year study of more than 6,000 people from six US states, shows that air pollution , even at levels below regulatory standards is a cause of accelerating the progression of atherosclerosis.

That is a condition also called the hardening of the arteries, and can cause heart attacks. “We found an association between air pollution exposure in the intermediate term and undesirable changes in cholesterol,” said study first author Maayan Yitshak Sade, of Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel.

“This suggests that cumulative exposure to air pollution over the course of a lifetime could lead to elevated risk of cardiovascular disease,” Sade added.

Researchers repeatedly measured calcium deposits in the heart’s arteries by using CT scans. They also assessed each person’s exposure to pollution based on home address. All of the participants were smokers or been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure issues and cholesterol problems.

The study found that those exposed to higher levels of air pollution in the previous three months had higher blood sugar levels, higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and fats in the blood, and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol than those exposed to lower levels of air pollution.

In exact terms, the study found that for every 5 µg/m3 higher concentration of PM2.5 (particulate matter), or 35 parts per billion higher concentration of oxides of nitrogen, individuals had a 20pc faster rate of progression of coronary artery calcium deposits.

According to the Health24, the study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“While air pollution is linked with relatively small changes in cardiometabolic risk factors, the continuous nature of exposure and the number of people affected gives us cause for concern,” said senior study author Dr Victor Novack, also of Soroka University Medical Centre and Ben-Gurion University. – Business recorder