Thursday, April 02, 2009

Can Air Pollution Lead to Blood Clot or Even Heart Disease?

Industrialization seems cannot be separated from air population, brought about by the improper management and disposal of industrial wastes, especially in many developing countries.

Air pollution resulting from cars and industry do contain tiny particles of carbon, nitrates, metals and other materials that can be linked to a variety of health problems. Lung diseases were the initial concern but subsequent research has reported that it might as well cause heart disease and stroke because it increases the rate at which blood can coagulate.

In a paper published on May 12, 2008 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that the small particles if presented in large amount in air population might cause blood clots in the legs. This is similar to the condition known as ‘economy class syndrome’ resulting from immobility during flight.

Before this study, particulate pollution had never been linked to blood clots in the veins. The health experts have always cited ‘impaired circulation when sitting in one place without exercise for long periods’ as the reason to cause economy class syndrome, but not to the blood itself.

The study examined 870 people in Italy who had developed deep vein thrombosis between 1995 and 2005. Comparing with 1,210 people who live in the same region but did not have the problem, the researchers discovered that for every increase in particulate matter of 10 micrograms per square meter the previous year, the risk of deep vein thrombosis increased by 70 percent. Moreover, the blood of those who had higher levels of exposure to particulate matter was quicker to clot when tested at a clinic.

The new findings of a new and common risk for deep vein thrombosis provide a strong basis for the researchers to call for tighter standards and continued efforts aimed at reducing the impact of urban air pollutants on human health.

If the findings can be proven by additional research, it may turn out that the actual health hazards created by air pollution may be even greater than ever anticipated.

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