AHA links air pollution to blood vessel damage
From its Dallas headquarters, the association recently confirmed that “fine particulate matter” air pollution could be associated with damage and inflammation of young adults’ blood vessels via results published in its Circulation Research journal.
“These results substantially expand our understanding about how air pollution contributes to cardiovascular disease by showing that exposure is associated with a cascade of adverse effects,” C. Arden Pope, lead author and professor of economics at Brigham Young University, said.
Twice previously, the American Heart Association warned the public about risks of air pollution — initially in 2004 and again in 2010 — and suggested that individuals discuss strategies for avoidance with their doctor targeted to their particular region. At those times it was still unclear how tainted air physically impacts blood vessels.
New results indicate three factors key to that process: an increased number of micro-particles associated with injury or fatality, increased protein levels inhibiting vessel growth and increased protein levels denoting blood-vessel inflammation.
“These findings suggest that living in a polluted environment could promote … high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke more pervasively and at an earlier stage than previously thought,” Aruni Bhatnagar, study co-author and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, said. “(That) it could also affect even seemingly healthy individuals suggests that increased levels of air pollution are of concern to all of us, not just the sick or the elderly.”
The study comprised 72 healthy nonsmokers living in Provo, Utah, with an average age of 23.
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