Lowering blood pressure is particularly beneficial for patients who have been exposed to high levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, according to a new study published in the journal Hypertension.
Researchers at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center intergrated satellite-derived air pollution data with the residential addresses of 9,286 patients.
The study showed that intensive blood pressure lowering led to significant reduction in cardiovascular events, especially in patients exposed to higher pollution levels.
Therefore lowering blood pressure is particularly beneficial for patients who are exposed to high levels of PM2.5 pollution and it may even reduce adverse cardiovascular effects of exposure to fine particulate matter.
Sadeer Al-Kindi, cardiologist and assistant professor, said: ‘Air pollution impacts socioeconomically disadvantaged patients to a higher degree.
‘Living within a particular neighborhood should not mean you are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
‘University Hospitals has a history of addressing health care disparities in underserved communities and armed with the information from this study, we can thoughtfully create solutions to better serve these populations.’
Sanjay Rajagopalan, senior author of the study, added: ‘This study improves our understanding of the intersection between air pollution, heart disease and blood pressure. It also has implications in management of patients who are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
‘Next steps in this research involve studying the mechanistic underpinnings of this effect modification and identifying methods to reduce pollution exposure and reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on the cardiovascular system.’
In related news, four leading cardiovascular organisations have called for urgent action to tackle air pollution.
The World Heart Federation (WHF), American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) have released a joint statement urging the medical community and health authorities to mitigate the impact of air pollution on people’s health.
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