Living in a Polluted Area Affects Cardiovascular Health

There’s no shortage of evidence, that pollution can hurt the heart. The excitement of driving in traffic can be bad for the heart, but breathing exhaust fumes is even worse.



From the EPA to such leading journals as the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, there is an undeniable link between urban pollution, cardiovascular accidents and the risk of heart attacks, particularly in people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung problems or heart failure.

Breathing in just a few hours the polluted air that escapes from the engines of cars and factories is one of the causes of the increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrhythmias. A comprehensive study on air pollution and cardiovascular disease published by the American Heart Association (AHA) shows this unquestionably.

Of course, classic risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as smoking, obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure still predominate, but the role of air pollution, long overlooked, must also be taken into account. This is no longer surprising for doctors. Emergency rooms fill up on days with peaks of pollution. One of the first to notice this and then demonstrate it is Professor Yves Cottin, head of the department at Dijon University Hospital. He has been working for a long time to understand why pollution could kill more and more people. Although we knew pollution was responsible for a considerable number of deaths, we do still not know by what mechanism. And contrary to what you might imagine, it is not our lungs that suffer most, but our hearts.



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