Blood type linked to heart-at­tack risk from high air pol­lu­tion lev­els

Peo­ple with his­tory of coro­nary prob­lems should avoid smoggy places, sci­en­tists rec­om­mend

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Sarah Knap­ton SCI­ENCE EDI­TOR

PEO­PLE with type O blood have a re­duced risk of suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack or chest pain dur­ing episodes of high air pol­lu­tion com­pared with the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, Amer­i­can sci­en­tists have claimed.

Re­searchers warned that peo­ple with type A, B or AB blood should con­sider stay­ing in­doors to min­imise their risk if they have un­der­ly­ing heart con­di­tions, such as coro­nary artery dis­ease.

It has been known for some time that pol­lu­tion raises the risk of a heart at­tack but it is the first time that it has been linked to blood type.

A study of 14 years of pa­tient data from the In­ter­moun­tain Med­i­cal Cen­ter Heart In­sti­tute in Utah found that the risk of a heart at­tack or chest pain dou­bled for peo­ple of type A, B or AB blood when pol­lu­tion hit high lev­els. In con­trast, the risk rose by only 40 per cent for those with type O.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween heart at­tacks and pol­lu­tion in pa­tients with non-o blood isn’t some­thing to panic over, but it is some­thing to be aware of,” said Dr Ben­jamin Horne, a clin­i­cal epi­demi­ol­o­gist and the study lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor at the Salt Lake City in­sti­tute, one of the pre­mier car­diac cen­tres in the US, which fo­cuses on the di­ag­no­sis, med­i­cal man­age­ment and pre­ven­tion of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

“In the in­for­ma­tion we pro­vide to our pa­tients about pol­lu­tion, we try to stress that they can do some­thing about it to re­duce their risks: stay in­doors out of pol­lu­tion and ex­er­cise in­doors.”

Air pol­lu­tion in Bri­tain is thought to con­trib­ute to around 40,000 early deaths a year, ac­cord­ing to the Royal Colleges of Physi­cians and of Pae­di­atrics and Child Health.

Re­cent re­search by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion found that 44 ma­jor UK towns and ci­ties now breach WHO guide­lines on air qual­ity with par­tic­u­late lev­els so high they cause six mil­lion sick days each year.

Safe lev­els of air pol­lu­tion are gen­er­ally considered to be un­der 20 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre, but dur­ing lev­els of high pol­lu­tion, the PM2.5 count – the mea­sure of small par­tic­u­lates in the air – rises to around 60mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre. In London, it has been known to rise to 197mg.

The study found that for ev­ery ad­di­tional 10 mi­cro­grams over 20, the risk to peo­ple with type A, B, or AB blood in­creased by 25 per cent, but it rose by only 10 per cent for peo­ple with type O.

Around 55 per cent of peo­ple are A, B or AB and they are thought to be at greater risk of heart prob­lems be­cause their blood con­tains greater quan­ti­ties of a clot­ting agent.

The study was pre­sented yes­ter­day at the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion Sci­en­tific Ses­sions in Ana­heim, south­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

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