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Air pollution could lead to cardiovascular diseases, says study

Key research questions focused on components of air pollution (particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide) that are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system and mechanisms that damage the vessels.

If a study published in the European Heart Journal is to be believed, air pollution can lead to cardiovascular diseases. The study was conducted by an international group of experts from Germany, England and USA who came to analyse the negative effects of air pollution on vascular function. The study, which was published as a review article found that air pollution and fine dust was the main culprit in killing about 4 million people worldwide each year. And of these almost 60 per cent of deaths occur as a result of heart diseases.

Professor Thomas M nzel said, "We are especially worried about ultrafine dust. These particles have the size of a virus. When ultrafine matter is inhaled, it immediately enters the bloodstream through the lungs, is taken up by the vessels, and causes local inflammation."

"Ultimately, this causes more atherosclerosis (vascular calcification) and thus leads to more cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias. Of particular interest is the fact that with regard to the much-discussed diesel exhaust emissions, particulate matter and not nitrogen dioxide (NO2), both of which are produced by burning diesel fuel, have a negative effect on vascular function," M nzel continued.

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"The fine dust particles are chemically formed mainly in the atmosphere from emissions from traffic, industry, and agriculture. In order to achieve low, harmless concentrations, emissions from all these sources need to be reduced," commented Professor Jos Lelieveld.

5 quick ways to prevent air pollution at home:

  1. Avoid smoking indoors: While we would suggest that you quit smoking, if that's not possible, not smoking at home is a must-follow rule. Smoking indoors (even in balcony) isn't going to be of any help, as the smoke will keep lingering plus passive smoking is equally damaging to one's health.
  2. Fit air filters: This is something that, in India is slowly picking up. Fixing air filters at home is a great way to cut down on inhaling polluted air.
  3. Maintain proper ventilation: At home, make sure you have proper ventilation. Keep windows and panes open in order to feel less stuffed. Also when you do so, make sure you shut them in regular intervals. Switch between keeping them open to let in some fresh air, and shutting them when you feel that the impure air could be entering too.
  4. Keep your dustbins shut: Make sure you keep your dustbin shut at all times to avoid pests and infections.
  5. Wash bedding and fans regularly: Wash your bedding, curtains and clean your fans or air- conditioners regularly so that there is no clogged dust anywhere.

(with inputs from ANI)

Image Source: Shutterstock

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