Accumulating evidence indicates that an increase in particulate air pollution is associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths. Research has begun in the relatively new field of environmental cardiology -- a field that examines the relationship between air pollution and heart disease.
Aruni Bhatnagar of the University of Louisville and Robert Brook of the University of Michigan have organized a symposium Environmental Factors in Heart Disease, to take place April 21 at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans.
The American Physiological Society is one of the sponsors of the annual conference. Dr. Bhatnagar will speak on Environmental aldehydes exposure and cardiovascular disease, while Dr. Brook will give a talk on Environmental pollution and hypertension. In addition, Araujo Jesus of UCLA will speak on Exacerbation of experimental atherogenesis by ultrafine air pollution, and Murray Mittleman of the Harvard School of Public Health will speak on Air pollution and stroke.
There have been a number of studies connecting pollution with heart disease:
A study of six U.S. cities found that people died earlier when they lived in cities with higher pollution levels. A majority of these deaths were due to heart disease.
A study of 250 metropolitan areas around the world found a spike in air pollution is followed by a spike in heart attacks.
A study in Salt Lake City found that when a nearby steel mill shut down for a period of months, there was a 4-6% drop in mortality. The mortality rose to previous levels when the steel mill reopened.
The people who seem to be most susceptible to environmental pollutants are the people who are already vulnerable, including the elderly and people with coronary artery disease. There is also some evidence that diabetics, women and people who are obese may be at greater risk.
Identifying harmful pollutants
Researchers are trying to find out which pollutants are harmful and how the harmful pollutants work to damage the cardiovascular system. They have focused on smaller, microscopic particles that can get into the lungs and may gain entrance to the blood stream. (The upper airway filters out larger particles that are in smog and other air pollutants before they can cause a problem.)
In addition, researchers have focused on air pollutants, including:
One intriguing statistic is that the risk of heart attack increases in parallel with time spent in traffic the previous day. In animal experiments, Dr. Bhatnagar has found that aldehydes -- a toxic class of chemicals found in most forms of smoke, including cigarette smoke and car exhaust -- increase blood cholesterol levels and activate enzymes that cause plaque in the blood vessels to rupture. When plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot, which may block an artery and lead to a heart attack.
Much of Robert Brook’s research has centered on the relationship between air pollution and hypertension. Fine- and ultra-fine particles that get into the lung may make their way into the blood vessels. Within 15 minutes of inhaling pollutants, there is a very rapid increase in blood pressure, he said.
Blood vessels react to the pollutants by producing an inflammatory response to attack the foreign matter. However, the inflammatory response itself can set off a complex physiological reaction that is harmful to the blood vessels, Dr. Brook said.
If you live in an area where pollution levels may be high, you can take steps to reduce the risk of air pollution, Dr. Brook said. During times when air quality is unhealthy, exercise indoors, because indoor air is filtered. If you exercise outdoors, particularly if you’re at risk for heart disease, do it when pollutants are at lower levels. Avoid peak traffic times.
The work in environmental cardiology goes on and these researchers, and others, will gather together at Experimental Biology to share their ideas and research findings and plan the next steps in fighting environmental heart disease.
Christine Guilfoy | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Air Pollution > Ambient Air > Breathing > Disease > Heart > Inhaling > Metals > Pollution > air pollutant > aldehydes > blood vessel > cardiovascular disease > cholesterol level > environmental cardiology > environmental risk > genetic factors or lifestyle choice > harmful pollutants > heart attacks > heart disease > hypertension > inflammatory response > nitrates > ozone > sulfates > synthetic biology > ultrafine air pollution
Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care
Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine