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Air and Noise Pollution Linked with Heart Attack

air pollution can make heart and circulatory conditions worse/By BLACKDAY via Shutterstock

 

Pollution can come from traffic, factories, power generator, wildfires or even cooking with a wood stove. Acute short-term effects of air pollution tend to strike people who are elderly or already struggling with heart disease. For example, a patient who suffers from atherosclerosis, or builds up of fatty deposits on the inner lining of the arteries could experience health problems when pollutants enter his system.

Air pollution can make heart and circulatory conditions worse, or even cause new health problems. In a recent post by Science Daily, they mentioned that a new study conducted by Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute showed that air and noise pollution from busy traffic areas could trigger heart attacks and diabetes. Likewise, Times Now News also explained that the researchers considered noise exposure as one of the variables in the study.

In all corners of the world, children and adults are exposed to poor air quality and loud noise on a daily basis, which can put stress on the body over time. The finding could help explain the increased number of deaths seen in areas with high levels of dirty air. For example, a report last year revealed that people in the United Kingdom are 64 times more likely to die from the effect of air pollution than people living in Sweden.

Health risks from noise pollution

The role of noise as an environmental pollutant and its impact on health is increasingly recognized. Beyond its effect on the auditory system, noise causes annoyance and disturbs sleep, and it impairs cognitive performance. Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise, is the propagation of noise with a harmful impact on the activity of human or animal life.

High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans and an increasing incidence of coronary artery disease. Blood pressure levels, cardiovascular disease, and stress-related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high-intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heartbeat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow.

Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars, and even in homes can affect psychological health. Studies show that the occurrence of aggressive behavior, disturbance of sleep, constant stress, fatigue, and hypertension can be linked to excessive noise levels.  In animals, noise can increase the risk of death by altering predator or prey detection and avoidance, interfere with reproduction and navigation, and contribute to the permanent hearing loss.

Air pollutant, silent killers

Even healthy people can experience health impacts from the polluted air including respiratory irritation or breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities. Ambient air pollution is a major cause of death and disease globally. The health effects range from increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits to increased risk of premature death.

Air pollution can be invisible, causing lung damage, cancer, or other serious health problems in people who may not realize the potential danger of unseen gases or particles suspended in the air. According to the World Health Organization, pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern, include particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

Particulate matter is a complex mixture that may contain soot, smoke, metals, nitrates, sulfates, dust, water, and tire rubber. It can be directly emitted, as in smoke from a fire, or it can form in the atmosphere from reactions of gases such as nitrogen oxides. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems.

Research also shows that air pollution can affect the heart and circulation by damaging the inside walls of the blood vessels, causing them to become narrower and harder. The movement of the blood vessels will also be restricted and it would result in the increased blood pressure which would add strain in the heart.

high noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects/ Photo By Diego Cervo via Shutterstock

 

Protect and save

A person’s health can deteriorate when the air quality is poor or a smog warning is in effect. The effects of air pollution vary according to each person’s level of sensitivity. Certain precautions could also help in planning outdoor activities and prevent the effects of air pollution.

It would be very advisable that before planning the next outdoor activity with the family, make sure to verify the air quality index of the area. If there is a case of heart or respiratory problems, always bring the medication needed when going outdoors. People who work in busy cities should try to avoid going out during rush hours in order to avoid the pollution that they might acquire while commuting.

The effects of air pollution differ from person to person. A healthy adult who is exposed to these pollutants for a short time or at a low dose may not develop long-term problems. For a person with a heart of respiratory condition, however, even a small dose or a short exposure can make symptoms worse. Children and elderly are more susceptible to air pollution than others and they could suffer the effects at lower pollution levels.

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