In Europe as is true elsewhere, polluted air takes toll on heart health

“Air pollution damages the heart,” wrote Anne-Claude Martin in: “Researchers link air pollution to heart diseases” at EurActiv. What is more, “[a]ccording to an expert position paper published in the European Heart Journal, many types of cardiovascular disease are linked to poor air quality.

Anatomy_Heart_English_Tiesworks[1]“Not only does air pollution exacerbate existing heart problems, but it also appears to play a role in the development of heart disease in otherwise healthy people, the researchers said. There is particularly strong evidence of the harmful effects of suspended particles, as opposed to gas pollution, they said.”

Martin went on to explain that four million Europeans die annually from complications due to cardiovascular diseases.

Moreover, according to World Health Organization estimates, worldwide, seven-million-plus people suffer early death on account of polluted air. In Europe, meanwhile, the number of people on a yearly basis losing their lives prematurely from air pollution’s effects, number 400,000 as determined by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and documented in a Nov. 2014 EEA report, according to what the EurActiv article author wrote.

Martin wrote, “Last November, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report indicating that air pollution was the leading environmental cause of death in urban Europe.”

Furthermore, continued Martin, “[c]ardiovascular disease and heart attacks are the main causes of death due to air pollution (80%), before lung diseases and cancer, according to the EEA study. The document also states that nine out of ten inhabitants of Europe’s cities are forced to breathe air that contains the very pollutants responsible for 400,000 premature deaths every year.”

Tied to that same air pollution is: arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, diseases of the cerebrovascular system and coronary arteries, and heart attack and heart failure, according to Martin.

Documented evidence makes abundantly clear the connection – in Europe and across the globe – between poor air quality and heart ailment and disease. The gravity of the situation is indeed serious.

For more on the heart and air pollution, see: “Polluted air: The ‘heart’ of the problem,” “Fine particulates pose threat to heart health” and “Putting into context air-pollution-statistical ‘estimates.’”

Published by Alan Kandel