Thursday, June 2, 2016

Does air pollution raise the risk for heart trouble?

A new meta-analysis of 17 studies found that both short- and long-term exposure to some air pollutants was linked to an increased risk for high blood pressure, one of the key factors associated with heart attacks and strokes.

The study results "provide strong evidence that both short-term and long-term exposure to the main air pollutants increases the risk of hypertension." High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. And high blood pressure itself is associated with about 17 percent of fatalities globally, the study authors pointed out. "Our findings are of public health importance because both air pollution and hypertension are important worldwide public health problems."

As you head out to enjoy the warm Colorado weather, keep a few things in mind:

1. You might be more sensitive to particulates in the air if you already have heart or lung disease. You can check the Air Quality Index where you can get daily local air quality reports and information to protect your health from air pollution.

2. Prevention is key. Get your blood pressure checked and talk with your doctor about managing high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease.

Find tools to prevent and manage high blood pressure and resources for talking with your providers, patients and friends about healthy eating, active living and smoking cessation. Check out Million Hearts.

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