China study confirmed that air pollution exposure impacts the heart
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the three chief risk factors for heart disease. A study, carried out in China has recently confirmed that air pollution exposure impacts the heart. It increases stress hormone levels and leads to negative metabolic changes.
An exposure to fine particulate matter, an air pollutant emitted from vehicles, factories, power plants, fires and smoking, impacted metabolism of glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and lipids, found the research. These changes could be partially responsible for cardiovascular diseases. They can be more pronounced in people with higher blood pressure, insulin resistance, biomarkers of inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Another study by researchers from the University of Washington directly linked air pollution and atherosclerosis: long-term exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides can age blood vessels prematurely and lead to a faster build-up of plaque in the coronary artery. The latter can limit blood flow to the heart and other important blood vessels, thus increasing the likelihood of a heart attack and stroke.
You can check the levels of air pollution in your region at https://www.ec.gc.ca/cas-aqhi/.