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Air pollution hurts heart


Washington: Poor air quality increases patients’ risk of heart attack, according to a recent study.

People with heart disease face an increased risk of a serious heart attack during poor air quality days, according to a major new study presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Session in Orlando.

The study of more than 16,000 patients by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City examined patients who had suffered three types of heart attacks – STEMI, non-STEMI, and unstable angina – to identify which type of heart attack was more likely on days when the air was especially polluted.

Cardiologist Kent Meredith said that the research indicated that during poor air quality days, namely those with high levels of PM2.5, patients with heart disease are at a higher risk of suffering from a STEMI heart attack.

“By making this association, physicians can better counsel their heart patients to avoid exposure to poor air quality, and thus decrease their chances of suffering a heart attack on days that they are potentially at highest risk,” said Dr. Meredith.

“The study suggests that during many yellow air quality days, and all red quality air days, people with known coronary artery disease may be safer if they limit their exposure to particulate matter in the air by exercising indoors, limiting their time outdoors, avoiding stressful activities, and remaining compliant with medications,” said Dr. Meredith.

“These activities can reduce inflammation in the arteries, and therefore make patients less sensitive to the fine particulate matter present on poor air quality days.”

The study is reported at the 2015 American Heart Association Scientific Session. (ANI)

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