Navigation Links
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Date:11/30/2008

Exposure to air pollution is linked to hardening of the arteries

SUNDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The decline in highway traffic that was brought on by last summer's spike in gas prices may be a boon to heart health.

That's because automobile emissions are among a long list of risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

"There's a very coherent and consistent body of data that links particulate air pollution with cardiovascular disease and premature death," said Dr. Ted Schettler, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, an environmental and public health advocacy group.

Among the latest evidence: a German study published recently in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, which found that people who live near heavy traffic are more likely to develop atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can boost the risk of heart disease.

Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease that begins with damage to the lining of the arteries. Over time, the arteries accumulate plaque, a combination of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances. This causes the arteries to become rigid and narrow, impeding the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other parts of the body. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke or even death, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

In 2004, the American Heart Association issued its first official statement on air pollution and cardiovascular disease. In reviewing the scientific evidence, an expert panel concluded that short-term exposure to elevated particulate matter, which includes motor vehicle emissions, "significantly contributes to increased acute cardiovascular mortality, particularly in certain at-risk subsets of the population."

The panel further noted that prolonged exposure to elevated levels of air pollution reduced overall life expectancy "on the order of a few years."

To assess the impact of long-term residential traffic exposure on the heart, Dr. Barbara Hoffmann, head of the unit of environmental epidemiology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and colleagues used "electron-beam computed tomography" to measure calcium build-up in the arteries.

Compared with people who lived more than 200 meters, or 642 feet, from major traffic, the risk of coronary artery calcification was 63 percent higher for people living within 50 meters (160 feet) of heavy traffic, and 34 percent higher for those who were between 51 meters and 100 meters (164 to 328 feet) away. The risk was 8 percent higher for those living 100 meters to 200 meters (328 to 642 feet) away.

Hoffmann compares the damage wrought by traffic fumes to the effects of aging. "Living within 100 meters of a major road compared to people living further away amounts to a similar difference in coronary calcification as six months of aging," she said.

Her team is currently examining all study participants again to determine whether those living close to heavy traffic have suffered a greater increase in coronary calcification during the past five years.

So what can individuals do, short of moving away from heavily traveled roads, to stave off cardiovascular disease?

The best thing is focus on modifiable factors, such as keeping blood pressure and diabetes in check, lowering cholesterol, increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, Hoffmann said.

Reducing air pollution is a larger challenge.

In big U.S. cities, state and local agencies are required to report the Air Quality Index -- a measure of how pristine or polluted the air is -- each day, says AirNow, a federal government Web site on air quality. Depending on the level of concern, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children may be advised to remain indoors

"That's just a Band-Aid on a public health problem," Schettler said. "Do we want people who have early cardiovascular disease to have to avoid breathing air outside, or do we want to clean up the air?"

More information

For more on the heart-health effects of air pollution, visit the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Barbara Hoffmann, M.D., M.P.H., head, unit of environmental epidemiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Ted Schettler, M.D., M.P.H., science director, Science and Environmental Health Network, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Aug. 13, 2008, news release, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.; July 17, 2007, Circulation; U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Md.; American Heart Association, Dallas


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Heavy Metals Can Taint Wine
2. New Test Identifies Heavy Drinkers
3. Heavy birthweight increases risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
4. Heavy birthweight babies twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis
5. AARP: Under Heavy Economic Pressure, Hispanics 45+ Look To Workplace, Families
6. Preference for alcohol in adolescence may lead to heavy drinking
7. Alzheimers Starts Earlier for Heavy Drinkers, Smokers
8. Its Spring Break: How Much Does Heavy Drinking Affect Your Body?
9. Elbow, Shoulder Injuries Take Heavy Toll on Pro Baseball Players
10. New sensor system improves detection of lead, heavy metals
11. Heavy marijuana use linked to gum disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... ... Butler Mobility invited Ken Matthews to visit its manufacturing facility and showroom to ... with the safety and reliability of the Stannah Stairlift as well as with the ... by Ken Matthews can be heard on News Radio WHP 580 weekdays from 3:00 ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 18, 2017 , ... ProParagraph Fashion ... Film Studios ’ ProParagraph Fashion Volume 2 for all multi-line FCPX project needs. ... Users can pick and choose from hand-crafted trend-setting designs with smooth animations that ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... While EHR data has revolutionized ... an innovative workstation designed to reduce nursing fatigue while enhancing productivity. Based on ... offers a lightweight, highly mobile, multi-functional alternative to the limitations of handheld computing. ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... For the first ... solution to the exhibit floor for the 2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition ... Feb. 19–23, 2017, more than 40,000 healthcare industry professionals are expected at the ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Corrective Action ... Letter, **An FDAnews Webinar**, Feb. 23, 2017 — 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ... action (CA) and preventive action (PA)? , The methods share techniques and tools ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... Feb 17, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... Report" report to their offering. ... The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, ... , Asia-Pacific , and Rest of World. Annual estimates ... six-year historic analysis is provided for these markets. Market data and analytics ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... 17, 2017  Featuring new and ... the  2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition (HIMSS17 ),  Royal ... global leader in health technology,  will ... population health management, acute healthcare informatics ... a highly secure, cloud-based ecosystem. Visitors ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the ... Technologies" report to their offering. ... Traditional medical devices include ... non-drug coated implantables, large endoscopes, needle based drug delivery, lab ... last two to three decades for the treatment and management ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: