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Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution May Increase Risk for CVD

Findings seen for adults living in 21 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries

LA skyline in smog

FRIDAY, Aug. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in adults, regardless of country wealth, according to a study recently published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Perry Hystad, Ph.D., from Oregon State University in Corvallis, and colleagues evaluated long-term exposure to outdoor PM2.5 and cardiovascular disease for 157,436 adults (aged 35 to 70 years) living in 21 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries (Jan. 1, 2003, to July 14, 2018).

The researchers found that during a median follow-up period of 9.3 years, there were 9,996 nonaccidental deaths, of which 3,219 were attributed to cardiovascular disease. At baseline, mean three-year PM2.5 was 47.5 µg/m³. A 10-µg/m³ increase in PM2.5 was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease events (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.07), myocardial infarction (HR, 1.03; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.05), stroke (HR, 1.07; 95 percent CI, 1.04 to 1.10), and cardiovascular disease mortality (HR, 1.03; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.05) when adjusting for individual, household, and geographical factors. For low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and communities with high PM2.5 concentrations (>35 µg/m³), the results were similar. There were no consistent associations between PM2.5 and risk for noncardiovascular disease deaths.

"Air pollution is an important global risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a need exists to reduce air pollution concentrations, especially in LMICs, where air pollution levels are highest," the authors write.

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