Saturday February 16, 2019

Air Pollution Linked to Changes in Heart Structure

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart, the findings showed

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Air Pollution.
Air pollution may also lead to changes in heart structure. Pixabay

Researchers have found that people exposed to even low levels of air pollution can have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure.

For every one extra microgram per cubic metre of PM2.5 — small particles of air pollution — and for every 10 extra microgram per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the heart enlarges by approximately 1 per cent, showed the findings of the Britain-based study published in the journal Circulation.

“Although our study was observational and hasn’t yet shown a causal link, we saw significant changes in the heart, even at relatively low levels of air pollution exposure,” said one of the researchers Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London.

For the study, the researchers looked at data from around 4,000 participants in the UK Biobank study, where volunteers provided a range of personal information, including their lifestyles, health record and details on where they have lived.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart,
Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart. Pixabay

Participants also had blood tests and health scans, and heart MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure the size, weight and function of the participants’ hearts at fixed times.

The team found a clear association between those who lived near loud, busy roads, and were exposed to nitrogen dioxide or PM2.5 and the development of larger right and left ventricles in the heart.

Also Read: Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year

The ventricles are important pumping chambers in the heart and, although these participants were healthy and had no symptoms, similar heart remodelling is seen in the early stages of heart failure.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart, the findings showed. (IANS)

Next Story

Almost Half Of U.S. Adults Suffer From Heart Or Blood Vessel Disease: Report

Heart and blood vessel disease is linked to 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States and kills more Americans than all forms of cancer and respiratory diseases like pneumonia combined.

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Heart
A monitor shows a three-dimensional image of a human heart at the Klaus-Tschira-Institute for Integrative Computational Cardiology, department of the Heidelberg University Hospital, in Heidelberg, Germany, Aug. 14, 2018. VOA

A new report estimates that nearly half of all U.S. adults have some form of heart or blood vessel disease, a medical milestone that’s mostly due to recent guidelines that expanded how many people have high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association said Thursday that more than 121 million adults had cardiovascular disease in 2016. Taking out those with only high blood pressure leaves 24 million, or 9 percent of adults, who have other forms of disease such as heart failure or clogged arteries.

Measuring the burden of diseases shows areas that need to improve, the heart association’s chief science and medical officer, Dr. Mariell Jessup, said in a statement.

Traditional pacemakers use leads with electrodes on one end that are threaded through blood vessels to connect to the heart.
Traditional pacemakers use leads with electrodes on one end that are threaded through blood vessels to connect to the heart. Wikimedia Commons

High blood pressure, which had long been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, dropped to 130 over 80 under guidelines adopted in 2017. It raises the risk for heart attacks, strokes and many other problems, and only about half of those with the condition have it under control.

Being diagnosed with high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean you need medication right away; the first step is aiming for a healthier lifestyle, even for those who are prescribed medicine. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 percent of high blood pressure.

Pregnancy, Breast Cancer
High blood pressure, which had long been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, dropped to 130 over 80 under guidelines adopted in 2017.

The report is an annual statistics update by the heart association, the National Institutes of Health and others.

Other highlights:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease is linked to 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States and kills more Americans than all forms of cancer and respiratory diseases like pneumonia combined.
  • Certain groups have higher rates than others; 57 percent of black women and 60 percent of black males.

Also Read: Injecting Drugs May up Bacterial Heart Infections: Study

  • Coronary heart disease, or clogged or hardened arteries, caused 43 percent of cardiovascular deaths in the U.S., followed by stroke (17 percent), high blood pressure (10 percent) and heart failure (9 percent). (VOA)