Health News

Air pollution could increase risk of ‘first fatal stroke’ warns study

Samantha Markle gives an update on her father after stroke

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

A stroke is a medical emergency caused by a blocked artery or bursting of a blood vessel in the brain. This can have life-threatening consequences, so it’s imperative to address warning signs like sudden confusion or trouble speaking swiftly. Avoiding risk factors for the condition is equally important, and according to new findings, this may include prolonged exposure to air pollution.

The latest findings, published in the journal Neurology, suggest fine particulate matter could be harmful to cardiovascular health.

The researchers made the discovery after tracking the effects of air pollution on the risk of having a ‘first’ and subsequent stroke.

This was done by tracking the health records of a large number of people and assessing their exposure to air pollutants.

The study focussed on PM 2.5 pollution which consists of tiny air particles that are hazardous to human health.

Particle pollution consists of tiny pieces – either solid or liquid – that circulate in the air and come in the form of dust, dirt or soot.

The team from Sun Yat-sen University School of Public Health in Guangzhou, China, highlights the trajectory of health from stroke to subsequent death.

Doctor Franco Folino, research cardiologist in the department of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Sciences at the University of Padova in Italy, told Medical News Today, hopes the finding will raise general public awareness about the health risks of pollution.

He said: “Despite the many studies that have shown the harmful effects of pollution on health, there still seems to be little awareness of the need to take adequate measures to reduce exposure to pollutants, particularly in populations at greater risk.

“Just like climate change still fails to induce significant changes in environmental policies, the effects of air pollution on health are largely underestimated.”

The findings chime with previous research published in the AHA journals linking particulate air pollution with changes in plasma viscosity, causing thickening of the blood.

In the long term, it is also believed that air pollution increases the risk of stroke by hardening the arteries in the brain and raising blood pressure.

All these factors combined could subsequently lead to the formation of a blood clot, which could stop blood from flowing to the organ.

While monitoring outdoor air pollution levels can be difficult, they can be tracked in the Iphone’s weather app.

Researchers suggest on days when air quality reaches dangerous levels, people reduce their outside activities.

This advice is particularly important for individuals with high cardiovascular risk, as it may be difficult for people living in densely populated urban areas to avoid air pollution.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, power plants and coal fires are examples of secondary sources of particle pollution.

The health body adds: “Some other common sources of particularly pollution can be either primary or secondary – for example, factories, cars and trucks and construction sites.”

In the UK, residential combustion of wood and coal in stoves and open fires are thought to be among the largest contributors to emissions of particulate matter.

Exposure to these fine particles cause short-term health effects including irritation of the eye, nose, throat and lung, or coughing and shortness of breath

There is also evidence that long-term exposure can hamper lung function and worsen other medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

Source: Read Full Article