September 20, 2011
Air pollution linked to heart attack risk
Scientists co-funded by
us have discovered that some types of air pollution can help
‘trigger’ a heart attack.
The researchers, from the London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looked at the records of almost
80,000 patients who had suffered a heart attack in 15
areas around the UK. The areas included London, Liverpool,
Sheffield, Cardiff, and Southampton.
The scientists looked at local levels of traffic pollution
in each area. They showed that the chance of having a heart
attack increased in the six hours after
exposure to pollutants.
Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson,
We know that pollution can have a major effect on your heart health
study shows conclusively that your risk of having a heart
attack goes up temporarily
, for around six hours, after
breathing in higher levels of vehicle exhaust.
“We know that pollution
can have a major effect on your heart health, possibly because
it can ‘thicken’ the blood to make it more likely to clot, putting
you at higher risk of a heart attack.
“Our advice to patients remains the same – if you’ve been
diagnosed with heart disease, try to avoid spending long periods
outside in areas where there are likely to be high traffic
pollution levels, such as on or near busy roads.”
The findings were published in the British Medical Journal.