Washington: Air pollution has been widely associated with an increased risk of stroke. A new study looks at the role of air pollution on the trajectory of stroke, including cardiovascular events after first stroke and death. The study is published in the September 28, 2022, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Study author Hualiang Lin, PhD, of Sun Yat-sen University School of Public Health in Guangzhou, China said,
We found that high levels of air pollution were associated with increased risks of transitions from being healthy to a first stroke, cardiovascular events after stroke and death, but with a stronger effect on the transition from being healthy to having a stroke. These results indicate that understanding and reducing the effects of air pollutants on different transition stages in stroke will be beneficial in managing people’s health and preventing the occurrence and progression of stroke.
The study involved 318,752 people in the UK biobank database with an average age of 56. The participants did not have a history of stroke or heart disease at the start of the study. Researchers looked at people’s exposure to air pollution based on where they lived at the start of the study. The participants were followed for an average of 12 years.
During that time, 5,967 people had a stroke. Of those, 2,985 people developed cardiovascular diseases and 1,020 people later died.
People exposed to high levels of air pollution were more likely to have a first stroke, post-stroke cardiovascular disease or death than people not exposed to high levels of pollution.
After adjusting for other factors that could play a role, such as smoking and physical activity level, researchers found that for each 5 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) increase of fine particulate matter, for example, the risk of transitioning from being healthy to having a first stroke increased by 24% and from being healthy to dying the risk increased by 30%. Particulate matter consists of liquids or solids suspended in air. Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, is less than 2.5 microns in diameter and includes fly ash from coal combustion. Those who had a stroke during the study had an average exposure of 10.03 ug/m3 of PM2.5, compared to 9.97 ug/m3 for those who did not have a stroke.
The researchers also found that the pollutants nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide were associated with an increased risk of stroke and death.
Hualiang Lin said,
More research is needed, but it’s possible that decreasing exposure to heavy levels of air pollution could play a role in reducing the progression of stroke. People can reduce their exposure by staying indoors on heavy pollution days, reducing their outdoor exercise, wearing masks to filter out particulate matter and using air purifiers.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.