World Heart Day: Air pollution is damaging your heart, finds study
Two international studies robustly showed that particulate matter had both long-term and short-term effects on the cardiac system, resulting in increased risk of mortalities upto 12%.Updated: Sep 29, 2017 14:11 IST
Air pollution is not only damaging your lungs, but also harming your cardiac system. In an article published in the latest edition of the Indian Heart Journal (IHJ), doctors have warned against the harmful effects of fine particulate matter (PM) of sizes less than 0.25 micometers (PM 0.25) and larger PM sized less than 10 (PM 10), on the cardiac system.
Hazardous PM are particles released mainly from the burning of vehicular fuel and coal industries, which remain suspended in the air.
Among the many studies cited, two international studies robustly showed that particulate matter had both long-term and short-term effects on the cardiac system, resulting in increased risk of mortalities upto 12%.
Dr Sundeep Mishra, cardiologist and editor of the IHJ, said short-term deaths are related to PM 10 whereas long term deaths have been associated with PM 0.25.
“PM 0.25 enters the body through the lungs and can cross the lung barrier to directly enter the blood stream. Once they enter the blood stream, they irritate the blood vessels, which leads to an inflammatory reaction,” he said.
PM 10, on the other hand, enter the alveoli-glandular tissues of the of the lungs and irritate the blood vessels there.
“Irritation of the walls of the arteries eventually leads to a plaque-like condition, and in the long run, results in Atherosclerosis, a condition in which the walls of the blood vessels are thickened and blocked,” he said.
According to doctors, despite India harbouring the world’s most polluted cities, there have not been any large- scale studies to associate cardiovascular deaths with air pollution.
“In India, there are no proper death registries. Moreover, the death certificates are not always issues by qualified people, resulting in skewed data. So it is tough to get a true picture,” said Dr Sudhir Pillai, cardiologist at PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
In the review, doctors have said that the most ideal way to address this problem is to maintain strict environmental standards of pollutants, but they agreed that there is a need for more practical solutions.
“Reducing physical activities around polluted areas and using air filters, may help to a certain extent,” the review said.
Pope CA, Burnett RT, et al, 2004
Samete JM, et al, 2000
First Published: Sep 28, 2017 12:28 IST