Researchers have discovered that high blood pressure is linked to air pollution, adding more evidence on how external factors influence our health. This is the result of seventeen studies conducted across the globe. Each study assessed a possible connection between polluted air and blood pressure.
Researchers analyzed papers of studies which involved more than 300,000 people in all. About 108,000 of them were suffering from high blood pressure. The seventeen studies were conducted in the US, Canada, Germany, China, Denmark, Iran, Sweden, Spain, and Taiwan.
The results revealed that pollutants such as vehicles, coal burning, and dirt and dust in the air, had short-term and long-term effects on blood pressure.
The focus was on chemicals such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide. Scientists also took into consideration tiny dust specks, smoke, dirt, and droplets of liquid.
In the short term, air pollution could cause temporary spikes in blood pressure if the person is exposed to pollutants for a few days. In the long term, however, it could lead to chronically high pressure if the person gets exposed to air pollutants on a regular basis.
The study suggests that strategies to reduce exposure to air pollutants are beneficial in order to lower the risks of developing hypertension. Researchers ask that people with high blood pressure to wear masks when the outdoor air quality is low. Indoors, air purifiers are a good solution to keeping the air as clean as possible.
Even healthy individuals should check their blood pressure at least once a year just to make sure they sit in safe limits. Also as a general rule, people are advised to avoid outdoor activities when pollution levels are high.
Approximately 80 million adults in the US are suffering from high blood pressure. This is the key factor for stroke and heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
The known causes of high blood pressure are genes, diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. But there was no previous evidence that air pollution had an influence as well. The study is the first to determine that high blood pressure is linked to air pollution. The results were published on May 31 in the Hypertension journal.
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