Air Pollution Linked To Irregular Heart Beats and Cardiovascular Issues, Study Shows

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Air pollution has been found to be linked to a heart condition called arrhythmia, characterized by irregular heartbeats. Two specific types of arrhythmias are atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. If not treated, these conditions can result in blood clots or heart disease.

Pollutants increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases

In 2020, the American Heart Association reported that approximately 244 million individuals worldwide were affected by heart disease. While genetic factors are challenging to modify, people can change their interactions with harmful pollutants to reduce their risk of cardiovascular issues.

A recent study investigated the potential connection between air pollution and arrhythmia, as previous research has established a link between air pollution and heart disease. The study collected medical data from 2,025 hospitals in 322 Chinese cities, focusing on patients who experienced sudden arrhythmia symptoms. In addition, air quality levels were recorded from monitoring stations near the hospitals.

The findings revealed that acute exposure to ambient air pollution was associated with an increased risk of symptomatic arrhythmia. The risks were observed within a few hours of exposure and could last up to 24 hours. The study also noted that the relationship between different pollutants and arrhythmia subtypes was linear, with no discernible concentration thresholds.

The study found a strong association between high levels of air pollution and various heart issues. Breathing polluted air, particularly with high levels of nitrogen dioxide, was linked to atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, and premature beats. The more exposure individuals had to air pollutants, the stronger the connection to these arrhythmias.

Pollution affects cardiac electrophysiological activities

Study authors suggest that the link between air pollution and these heart problems is biologically plausible, possibly due to the impact of pollution on cardiac electrophysiological activities, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, membrane channels, and autonomic nervous function.

The study highlights critical aspects of air pollution as a significant threat to human life. As a result, researchers emphasize the need for global attention to the issue and the implementation of measures to safeguard those vulnerable to severe pollution.

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