Beware: Air pollution may put you at an increased risk of stroke, heart attack!

As per the study, tiny particles in polluted air can travel from the lungs into our bloodstream and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Apr 28, 2017, 15:47 PM IST
Beware: Air pollution may put you at an increased risk of stroke, heart attack!
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: There's no doubt that pollution not only in India, but around the world, is turning out to be a downright menace with pollutants in the air becoming more and more aggressive with each passing day.

Every new day witnesses an increased toxicity in the air, which is gradually enlarging the radar of threat upon the global population.

Even after the World Health Organisation (WHO) sounding many alerts and health experts giving away numerous tips and tricks to curb health issues, air pollution has continued to become an obstacle in people's health.

Respiratory issues, eye infections, skin and hair problems, the issues are endless – with doctors stating a steady rise in health-related cases due to pollution.

If these weren't enough, a study has said that air pollution can also increase our risk of a heart attack and stroke.

As per the study, tiny particles in polluted air can travel from the lungs into our bloodstream and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Nanoparticles in air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which can lead to premature death. However, how particles inhaled into the lungs can affect blood vessels and the heart has remained a mystery.

Scientists, including those from University of Edinburgh in the UK and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, have found that inhaled nanoparticles can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, potentially explaining the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in 2012, about 72 per cent of premature deaths related to outdoor air pollution were due to ischemic heart disease and strokes. Pulmonary disease, respiratory infections and lung cancer were linked to the other 28 per cent.

Many scientists have suspected that fine particles travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, but evidence supporting this assumption in humans has been challenging to collect.

Researchers used a selection of specialised techniques to track the fate of inhaled gold nanoparticles.

In the study, 14 healthy volunteers, 12 surgical patients and several mouse models inhaled gold nanoparticles, which have been safely used in medical imaging and drug delivery.

Soon after exposure, the nanoparticles were detected in blood and urine.

Importantly, the nanoparticles appeared to preferentially accumulate at inflamed vascular sites, including artery plaques in patients at risk of a stroke.

The findings suggest that nanoparticles can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream and reach susceptible areas of the cardiovascular system where they could possibly increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal ACS Nano.

(With PTI inputs)