Exposure To Air Pollution Could Increase Risk Of Heart Disease

Air pollution exposure can negatively impact cholesterol, blood sugar levels and other factors for heart disease, especially in people with diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

According to the Endocrine Society’s Facts and Figures Report, lipid and cardiovascular disorders are a leading cause of death in the United States, and the nationwide cost of treating the diseases was $320 billion in 2011. Poor cholesterol levels and high glucose in the bloodstream, which can be caused from excessive exposure to air pollution, can put a person at an even greater risk of heart disease than the general public.

"While air pollution is linked with relatively small changes in cardiometabolic risk factors, the continuous nature of exposure and the number of people affected gives us cause for concern," said Victor Novack, MD, PhD, senior author of the study. "Even small changes in glucose levels and glycemic control can contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease."

Air pollution

Researchers looked at the medical records of over 73,000 adults living in southern Israel where air pollution is considerably high. The study discovered that participants exposed to these higher levels of air pollution tended to possess poor blood sugar levels and cholesterol. The association between poor health and extreme amounts of air pollution was even higher in diabetic patients.

"We found an association between air pollution exposure in the intermediate term and undesirable changes in cholesterol," said Maayan Yitshak Sade, the study's first author. "This suggests that cumulative exposure to air pollution over the course of a lifetime could lead to elevated risk of cardiovascular disease."

Source: The Endocrine Society

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