Is Air Pollution Contributing To Hardened Arteries?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Mitchell Funk / Getty Images

Taxis going through steam

Smog and car exhaust can take a toll on the heart, and the latest research explores how.

Previous studies have shown an association between badly polluted air and a heightened risk of heart attack stroke, and researchers have started to investigate how pollutants could exert such harm. Some have documented the increased inflammation that pollution can trigger, as well as changes in blood pressure and the activity of clotting factors in the blood that could promote heart heart disease. The latest research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that exposure to air pollution may increase heart attacks and strokes by accelerating the process of atherosclerosis.

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the University of Washington followed 5,362 people between the ages of 45 and 84 from six regions in the U.S.: Baltimore, Maryland, Forsyth County, North Carolina, Los Angeles County, California, Northern Manhattan and Southern Bronx, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota. The participants were all part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution and none of them had heart disease at the start of the trial.

(MORE: Car Pollution Linked To Childhood Cancers)

To determine the amount of air pollution to which the participants were exposed, the researchers created models to estimate the particulates in the air in and around the volunteers’ homes, using information from the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality readings, as well as data that took into account density of car traffic, roadways and other sources of pollution near the people’s homes. The scientists also used ultrasound to measure blood vessel characteristics both at the beginning of the study and again three years later.

After accounting for behaviors like smoking, which can independently affect heart disease risk, they found that the thickness of the carotid arteries that supply blood to the head and neck increased by 14 µm each year. Participants who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution in their home had blood vessels that thickened faster compared to others living in their area with lower exposure levels.

Thickening of blood vessels is a sign of hardening of the arteries, as inflammation lures in clotting factors and other immune agents to patch up worn areas; as these compounds build, the vessels stiffen and thicken, losing their ability to flex and adjust to the varying levels of pressure created by the blood flow.

High levels of a fine air pollutant called PM2.5 was specifically linked with faster thickening of the inner two layers of the carotid artery, a vessel that serves as a sentinel for the state of other arteries throughout the body. However, the study also showed that if levels of PM2.5 were reduced in the participants’ homes, the pace of thickening slowed.

(MORE: Exposure to Air Pollution in Pregnancy May Boost Chances of Obesity in Kids)

“Linking these findings with other results from the same population suggests that persons living in a more polluted part of town may have a 2% higher risk of stroke as compared to people in a less polluted part of the same metropolitan area,” said study author Sara Adar, a John Searle assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in a statement.

The researchers say that understanding the pathway of PM2.5 and how it influences hardening of the arteries will help future studies investigating how air pollution affects heart disease. Previous studies have linked car pollution to a higher risk of childhood cancers and even autism.

And a study published last year even found an association between an expectant mother’s exposure to pollution during pregnancy and obesity in children. The researchers found that higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are present in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, in the mother’s blood during the third trimester can disrupt hormones that regulate growth and development.

MOREMom’s Exposure to Air Pollution Can Increase Kids’ Behavior Problems

While these studies all highlight associations, and not causal relationships between pollution and health risks, they point to potentially harmful exposures that could trigger damaging physiological changes. They are particularly concerning since many people can’t avoid exposure to pollutants, particularly from cars, so public health experts recommend focusing on heart disease risk factors that are in people’s control — such as not smoking. We can’t chose how many pollutants we breathe in from car and industrial exhaust, but we can avoid exposing our lungs to the pollutants in cigarette smoke.

41 comments
brightfuture
brightfuture

voyance amourThanks for giving me this information. Keep posting. Ready to escape insomnia’s vicious cir¬cle and reboot your brain for sound sleep.

jammyyy
jammyyy

Hey – great blog, just looking around some blogs, seems a really nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my blogs but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney

aileen123
aileen123

There is no question that instantaneous water heaters are good options to trust in terms of their water heating services. However, you need to know that not all kinds of this water heater will work best for you
case in vendita a varese

jammyyy
jammyyy

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises beverlyhillsplasticsurgeon.org

jammyyy
jammyyy

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.topcosmeticdentists.com

jammyyy
jammyyy

I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog. transumbilicalbreastimplants.com

jammyyy
jammyyy

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I'm able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else! Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorney

jammyyy
jammyyy

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. bestdentistlongisland.net

sl786982
sl786982

So luck to come across your excellent blog. Your blog brings me a great deal of fun.. Good luck with the site.  d1jewelry

aileen123
aileen123

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

autocad 2014 xforce keygen

jammyyy
jammyyy

I agree with your blog and i will be back to check it more in the future so please keep up your work. michael kors outleti love your content & the way that you write. antioxidant serum

brightfuture
brightfuture

I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish.ADHD Autism toys

brightfuture
brightfuture

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

Fire basket by Roshults

brightfuture
brightfuture

Innermost UKGreat tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.

sl786982
sl786982

Very well written story. It will be beneficial to anybody who usess it, as well as yours truly :). Alianças

sl786982
sl786982

It’s a fact that your blog posts are so unique and interesting and I enjoys a lot while reading your posts because you explained your post very deeply in a very easy and clear language. Thanks for your support. Mobile Spy App

calvinbrock735
calvinbrock735

his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work. 4x4 accessories

jammyyy
jammyyy

Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader. http://textmate2.org/

aileen123
aileen123

Im at KKK at Narodni and people are paying 120 Kc for coffee - every time the prodavacka says the total - like "200 Kc Please" and "thats 320 Kc Please" its so funny. But you do see people coming in to look at the prices and then walk out. That's funny too. But at least they have BRAINS. girlsdoporn

jammyyy
jammyyy

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. certificazioni Viterbo

jammyyy
jammyyy

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Akron Personal Injury Attorney

aileen123
aileen123

Sebald describes in the words of one of his characters “as the official manifestation of the increasingly importunate urge to break with everything which still has some living connection with the pas
girlsdoporn

tomwatson882
tomwatson882

Your music is amazing. You have some very talented artists. I wish you the best of success. girlsdoporn

jammyyy
jammyyy

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it. Edward Bass

jammyyy
jammyyy

"This is just the information I am finding everywhere. Thanks for your blog, I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog. " huile de souchet

jammyyy
jammyyy

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”. Media news

jammyyy
jammyyy

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises larnaca airport taxis

aileen123
aileen123

sweet. I'll order one. What are you two negroes up to, we should grab a beer sometime and wallow in hate and loathing for all things GOP. bubblegum casting

aileen123
aileen123

The architecture profession has in large part not taken advantage of its power and responsibility to truly innovate. RPI and SOM hope the CASE model presents industry and universities with a way to change that.
girlsdoporn

aileen123
aileen123

The site contains some bs about how he could get those documents, and how legal is he. The problem, the process he desrcibes is impossible in both Hungary or Germany (and in any other EU country.) He is ignorant enough to post Hungarian language documents girlsdoporn

michealhussy121
michealhussy121

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site. DECA fundraiser