With all the risk factors for heart disease (smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.) environmental toxins may seem like the least of our worries.
Not so, according to a recent study published in PLOS Medicine, which found that air pollution may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers collected air samples from the homes of about 7,000 participants, and checked the levels of fine particulate matter (pollution from cars, power plants, etc.).
Participants were given ultrasounds to see if their artery walls thickened faster when they were exposed to higher levels of pollution.
Turns out, they did – even when researchers accounted for other risk factors such as habits and age of participants.
The study’s authors conclude that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter is associated with the thickening of an artery wall, which results in an increased risk of heart disease.
You may not be able to change the fact that you live in a polluted city, but there are a few things you can do to make the earth cleaner and get more fresh air.
– Escape to nature whenever you can to get a healthy dose of fresh air
– Be eco-friendly when possible. Check out our green living section for some ideas!
– Reduce your risk of heart disease with these tips
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor