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:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... The OSHA Training Center at ... Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important reminder to employers to ... Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split screen ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split screens ... reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice Color ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for mental health professionals, announced today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. ... solutions to the network of the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader ... two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... One of Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, Dr ... biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). Noxopharm ... on the ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company with ... 1 clinical study later this year. ... problems facing cancer patients - the ability of cancers to become ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals ... waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of ... acquisition of Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: ... p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). As previously announced ... into a definitive merger agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS ... the Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to ... the Company,s stock which is currently listed on the ... S Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing ... be difficult to understand, not only by the Company, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: