July 10, 2013

Heart failure pollution danger

In the UK over 750,000 people suffer from heart failure – a debilitating and incurable condition which accounts for around a million hospital beds a year.

In a huge study funded by your donations, scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that even brief exposure to air pollution increases hospital admissions and death rates among people living with heart failure.

Exposure to pollution has been linked to heart failure

Air pollution could be making already vulnerable people even more unwell.

The study spanned 12 countries and nearly four million heart failure patients.

Dr Anoop Shah, Researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence comments:

“We already know that air pollution is associated with an increased risk of having a heart attack. Our study suggests that air pollution also affects patients with heart failure.

“We found a strong association between exposure to air pollution and admission to hospital with heart failure or death from heart failure. The effects were strongest for particulate matter found in vehicle exhaust fumes.”

The government must meet targets to save lives

Across the UK, reducing the levels of harmful particles in the air could potentially increase the nation's average life expectancy by up to eight months.

Joseph Clift, Policy Manager here at the British Heart Foundation says:

“Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are living each day with the impact of heart failure. This study reveals air pollution could be making these already vulnerable people even more unwell.

“It’s vital that the UK government meets European Commission targets to improve air quality. The benefit would not only be felt by heart failure patients, but – by reducing the cost to the NHS – our economy too.”

A cure for heart failure?

Finding a cure for heart failure is the subject of a major British Heart Foundation campaign, the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.

Help us fund ground-breaking research to find the way to repair damaged hearts and end the suffering caused by heart failure.

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