Study shows air pollution can affect blood pressure
LONG-TERM exposure to urban air pollution incrementally increases the risk of high blood pressure, according to a study released yesterday of more than 41,000 European city-dwellers.
Constant noise pollution – especially traffic – also boosts the likelihood of hypertension, researchers reported in the European Heart Journal.
High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for premature illness and death.
The study found that one extra adult per 100 people of roughly the same age developed high blood pressure in the most polluted part of towns compared to more breathable neighbourhoods.
The risk is similar to being clinically overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30, the researchers said.
To carry out the study, 33 experts led by Barbara Hoffmann, a professor at Heinrich-HeineUniversity in Duesseldorf, Germany, monitored 41,071 people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain for five to nine years.
At the same time, the researchers examined air quality in each locale during three twoweek periods between 2008 and 2011, measuring different sizes of particle matter.
Every increment of 5 micrograms – or millionths of a gram – of the smallest of these particles upped the risk of hypertension by one-fifth for people living in the most polluted areas, compared to those in the least polluted. –