UK health experts have said in the British Medical Journal that breathing in heavy traffic fumes could trigger a heart attacks.
“This large-scale study shows conclusively that your risk of having a heart attack goes up temporarily, for around six hours, after breathing in higher levels of vehicle exhaust.
“We know that pollution can have a major effect on your heart health, possibly because it can ‘thicken’ the blood to make it more likely to clot, putting you at higher risk of a heart attack.
“Our advice to patients remains the same. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, try to avoid spending long periods outside in areas where there are likely to be high traffic pollution levels, such as on or near busy roads”, said professor Jeremy Pearson who looked closely at medical records in England and Wales of almost 80,000 heart attack patients.
The research enabled the health team to plot hourly levels of air pollution against the onset of heart attacks symptoms to find out if there was a link from PM10, Ozone, CO, NO2 and SO2.
It was discovered that higher levels of air pollution did not appear to be linked with the onset of a heart attack lasting six hours after exposure to the deadly toxins as after this time frame the risks went down again.
“If anything, it looks like it brings heart attack forward by a few hours. These are cardiac events that probably would have happened anyway, but the findings should not detract from the fact that chronic exposure to air pollution was hazardous to health.
“Being exposed to a spell of medium-level rather than low-level pollution would raise heart attack risk by 5%”, said Krishnan Bhaskaran from the London School of Hygene and Tropical medicine.