Pollution and cardiovascular risk factor
The study, prepared by the Hospital Universitario de Canarias and the Center for Atmospheric Research Izaña (CCIA), both of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, analyzes the relationship between exposure to airborne particles present in ambient air with risk factors cardiovascular patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of heart failure or acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Specifically, the study was conducted on a sample of 3229 patients, all hospitalized for heart failure or acute coronary syndrome, two of the most prevalent cardiovascular disease. The profile of the former was older, and diabetic women than men, the second highest prevalence of family history of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking.
The study highlights especially patients admitted because of heart failure showed increased exposure of ambient atmospheric particles, especially ultrafine particles. .
Ultrafine particles, defined as those which have a diameter less than 0.1 mm, are the most pathogenic of all particles in the air. This is mainly due to are those that concentrate a greater number of particles per mm3, they are fully breathable because of its small size and to concentrate a large amount of organic carbon. That is why we have therefore a greater capacity to penetrate the alveoli of the lungs, reach the bloodstream and damage the arteries and myocardium.
These particles make up about 85% of particles found in ambient air and are particularly present in the gases given off by cars, mainly diesel engine and fumes from industries. This makes this type of particle is much more noticeable in cities compared with rural areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the pollution as the thirteenth leading cause of death worldwide, where it causes each year nearly two million deaths, mostly due to cardiovascular disease.
In Spain, there are about 18,000 deaths annually due to air pollution, a figure that experts predict that will continue to increase progressively in the coming years if nothing is done about it. It was estimated that for each daily increase of 10 mg/m3 for ultrafine particles, the number of people who die during the days immediately after rising about 0.7%.
According to Dr. Alberto Dominguez-Rodriguez, a member of the SEC and the cardiology department of the Hospital Universitario de Canarias and study author, "atmospheric pollution should be considered as an emerging cardiovascular risk factors and modifiable. Actions to reduce emissions ultrafine particles into the atmosphere through the use of electric or hybrid vehicles and control the industries that give off fumes near the cities, or inform the public of the moments in which the cities are focusing a high level of contamination so that, for example, those days do not practice outdoor sports, would be very beneficial aspects in order to reduce the exposure of these particles are so harmful to the heart and to our overall health. "
Dr. Dominguez-Rodriguez stated that "it is important that we aware of the health problems that leads to pollution, being a sort of 'silent murderer' which deteriorates the body without noticing us."
Ischemic heart disease is a disease caused by atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, which are responsible for providing blood to the heart muscle (myocardium). Coronary atherosclerosis is a slow process of accumulation of lipids (fats) and inflammatory cells that eventually leads to fibrosis and narrowing (stenosis) of coronary arteries. One of the most feared complications of coronary atherosclerosis is acute coronary thrombosis, which causes most acute myocardial infarctions and sudden deaths.
In Spain, heart disease is the most prevalent cardiovascular disease and it is estimated that more than one million people suffer chronically. In developing this disease also affect other classic risk factors such as snuff, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.