Another reason to escape to the countryside for a breather; a new study has found that experiencing high levels of air pollution for a short period of time can raise one's risk of having a heart attack. Previous studies have shown that exposure to air pollution increases inflammation, which is linked to heart attack risk.
In their study, researchers analyzed the results of 34 studies on the
association between short-term exposure to air pollution (up to seven
days) and the subsequent risk of heart attack. Air pollutants included in the review were: ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. The results showed that with the exception of
ozone, all major air pollutants were associated with a slight increase in heart attack risk.
These findings may explain why as more people are becoming more exposed to air pollution, heart disease is now the leading cause of death in industrialized countries. In addition, research has shown that exposure to air pollution may increase the heart rate and may make the blood more likely to form potentially dangerous clots.