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The Effects of Air Pollution on Heart Health

August 22, 2012

Whether you are living in a big city or a small town, you will be exposed to the detrimental effects of air pollution. Pollution can come from many different sources, including factories, power generators, traffic, wildfires, cooking with wood stoves, and smoking. When tiny pollutants in the air are inhaled into your body, they can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease.

The adverse health effects of air pollution can be short-term or long-term.

air pollution effect on heart healthAcute short-term effects tend to affect people who are advanced in age or already suffering from heart disease. For example, someone who has atherosclerosis, or buildup of plaque in the arteries, may experience immediate trouble when air pollutants cause the plaque to rupture, and this can lead to a heart attack. It is also known that pollution can contribute to inflammation of the heart and increase the risk of chronic cardiovascular problems.

There has been a growing body of evidence in recent years showing a link between air pollution and heart disease. In a scientific statement issued in 2004, the American Heart Association concluded that exposure to air pollution can contribute to cardiovascular disease and mortality. Short-term exposure can raise the risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmia in people who are susceptible to heart problems, whereas long–term exposure can increase the risk of death.

Now that you have understood the effects of air pollution on your heart health, you should make a conscious effort to avoid situations where you will be exposed to a high level of pollution.

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