Navigation Links
Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease
Date:3/22/2009

BETHESDA, Md. (March 23, 2009) We are used to thinking of heart disease as a product of genetic factors or lifestyle choices, such as what we eat and how much we exercise. There is another road to heart disease: breathing.

Accumulating evidence indicates that an increase in particulate air pollution is associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths. Research has begun in the relatively new field of environmental cardiology -- a field that examines the relationship between air pollution and heart disease.

Aruni Bhatnagar of the University of Louisville and Robert Brook of the University of Michigan have organized a symposium Environmental Factors in Heart Disease, to take place April 21 at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans. The American Physiological Society is one of the sponsors of the annual conference. Dr. Bhatnagar will speak on Environmental aldehydes exposure and cardiovascular disease, while Dr. Brook will give a talk on Environmental pollution and hypertension. In addition, Araujo Jesus of UCLA will speak on Exacerbation of experimental atherogenesis by ultrafine air pollution, and Murray Mittleman of the Harvard School of Public Health will speak on Air pollution and stroke.

There have been a number of studies connecting pollution with heart disease:

  • A study of six U.S. cities found that people died earlier when they lived in cities with higher pollution levels. A majority of these deaths were due to heart disease. vA study of 250 metropolitan areas around the world found a spike in air pollution is followed by a spike in heart attacks.
  • A study in Salt Lake City found that when a nearby steel mill shut down for a period of months, there was a 4-6% drop in mortality. The mortality rose to previous levels when the steel mill reopened.

The people who seem to be most susceptible to environmental pollutants are the people who are already vulnerable, including the elderly and people with coronary artery disease. There is also some evidence that diabetics, women and people who are obese may be at greater risk.

Identifying harmful pollutants

Researchers are trying to find out which pollutants are harmful and how the harmful pollutants work to damage the cardiovascular system. They have focused on smaller, microscopic particles that can get into the lungs and may gain entrance to the blood stream. (The upper airway filters out larger particles that are in smog and other air pollutants before they can cause a problem.)

In addition, researchers have focused on air pollutants, including:

  • ozone
  • nitrates
  • sulfates
  • metals
  • aldehydes

One intriguing statistic is that the risk of heart attack increases in parallel with time spent in traffic the previous day. In animal experiments, Dr. Bhatnagar has found that aldehydes -- a toxic class of chemicals found in most forms of smoke, including cigarette smoke and car exhaust -- increase blood cholesterol levels and activate enzymes that cause plaque in the blood vessels to rupture. When plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot, which may block an artery and lead to a heart attack.

Much of Robert Brook's research has centered on the relationship between air pollution and hypertension. Fine- and ultra-fine particles that get into the lung may make their way into the blood vessels. Within 15 minutes of inhaling pollutants, there is a very rapid increase in blood pressure, he said.

Blood vessels react to the pollutants by producing an inflammatory response to attack the foreign matter. However, the inflammatory response itself can set off a complex physiological reaction that is harmful to the blood vessels, Dr. Brook said.

Lessons learned

If you live in an area where pollution levels may be high, you can take steps to reduce the risk of air pollution, Dr. Brook said. During times when air quality is unhealthy, exercise indoors, because indoor air is filtered. If you exercise outdoors, particularly if you're at risk for heart disease, do it when pollutants are at lower levels. Avoid peak traffic times.

The work in environmental cardiology goes on and these researchers, and others, will gather together at Experimental Biology to share their ideas and research findings and plan the next steps in fighting environmental heart disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Abnormal fat metabolism underlies heart problems in diabetic patients
2. High blood pressure, low energy -- a recipe for heart failure
3. Human derived stem cells can repair rat hearts damaged by heart attack
4. Geron Demonstrates hESC-derived cardiomyocytes improve heart function after myocardial infarction
5. Heart of Herschel to be presented to media
6. Minimally invasive heart surgery research wins NIH award
7. A step toward tissue-engineered heart structures for children
8. Research explains link between cholesterol and heart disease
9. Eating competence may lower risk of heart disease
10. Cardiologists and heart surgeons meet for Controversies and Advances conference
11. Depression, aging, and proteins made by a virus may all play role in heart disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease
(Date:5/23/2017)... , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the ... been officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first ... and the USA . The technology was developed ... market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million ... News Release, please click: ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... April 24, 2017 Janice Kephart ... with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today ... without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive ... , refugee vetting can be instilled with greater confidence, ... now, all refugee applications are suspended by until ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event in ... and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and Smart ... the expo portion of the event and feature a ... on trending topics within 3D printing and smart manufacturing. ... will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob K. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... States (PRWEB) , ... September 22, 2017 , ... ... for venous leg ulcers is now being assessed in clinical trials in the ... trial please talk to your nurse or physician or find your nearest participating ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Dr. Greg Leyer, Chief ... NV on September 27th. His presentation is at 12:10pm in the Probiotics Resource Center, ... present at SupplySide West and discuss how probiotics have shown impressive data in areas ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... Each relaunch of the portal includes new features that facilitate streamlined and compliant ... seek to remain at the forefront of medical advancements, they rely on efficiencies ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Today, BioPharma Institute, a ... the addition of 5 new courses to its prospectus. These include the eagerly-awaited ... CFR Part 11 on Electronic Records and Electronic Signatures (Part 11 of Title ...
Breaking Biology Technology: