As you sit indulgently in your air-conditioned room, take an air conditioned car to commute, every distance as minute and far-stretched, you also know what stake, with this heavy dependence on diesel car- our overall physical activity, health, depletion of resources, standard of air we breathe. Air pollution is one of the rampant concerns of the heavily urbanized city life we inhabit. One can also read plenty of reports on how it manifests into a bevy of respiratory ailments, headaches, and sickness, but did you know that air pollution can cause significant damage to the heart structure and function, raising the risk of cardiac diseases and death.
According to new London based study it was found that the particulate matter (PM) emitted mainly from diesel road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure and death
Nay Aung, and his team from the Queen Mary University of London, analysed4,255 participants and examined whether PM2.5 may damage the heart directly.
Short for Particulate Matter, 2.5 micrometers or less”, PM2.5 particles are air pollutants with roughly a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, micro enough to invade the smallest airways.
The team conducted Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to measure left ventricular volume (structure) and left ventricular ejection fraction (function). The team also calculated annual average exposure to PM2.5 based on participants’ home address.
Keeping aside a margin of factors that could influence health such as age, gender, diabetes and blood pressure, Aung said, as PM2.5 exposure rises, the heart chambers enlarge and starts performing worse than before. Both of these measures are associated with increased morbidity and mortality from heart disease.”
Looking into interesting and potential factors which could possibly modify the relationship,
The researchers found that people with degree-level education happened to be less prone to having a larger heart and also had a smaller reduction in ejection fraction when exposed to PM2.5 than people with a lower level of education. The reason posited for the same by the team were couple of factors ranging from better housing and workplace conditions, which reduces the exposure to pollution.
Aung added, “Educated people may also be more aware of their health, have healthier lifestyles, and have better access to healthcare.”
According to Aung, the consequences of air pollution can manifest into a number of cardiac issues like systemic inflammation, vasoconstriction and raised blood pressure.
These factors can increase the pressure in the heart, which enlarges to cope with the overload.
The enlargement of heart chamber also reduces the contractile efficiency leading to reduction in ejection fraction.
Aung added, “Our results suggest that PM2.5 is linked with negative changes in the heart structure and function that are associated with poor outcomes.”