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What is the danger of inhaling contaminated air?

 
, medical expert
Last reviewed: 25.02.2021
 
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06 November 2020, 09:00

It turns out that after two hours of staying in polluted air, the vessels become less elastic, the heart rate is disturbed, and the blood composition changes towards inflammation. Moreover, such violations persist for the next 24 hours.

Air pollution is harmful, and this is confirmed by statistics: people who have to breathe air filled with industrial and automobile exhaust, get sick more often and more seriously, unlike residents of less busy areas. In order to confirm or deny this information, scientists from the Athens National University conducted an experiment.

In laboratory conditions, they were equipped with a special room with the ability to control the composition of the air. Air was pumped into the room containing diesel engine exhaust - about the same volume in which it is present in the central parts of large cities. According to the same statistics, "diesel" combustion products account for half of the total atmospheric pollution in urban environments. Another room was filled with normal, unpolluted air. Forty healthy volunteers who had no problems with the work of the heart and blood vessels were selected for the experiment. The people were divided into two groups: some of them were in a "gassed" room for two hours, while others were in a room with clean air. After 4 weeks, the experiment was repeated with the same people, but the first and second groups of volunteers were swapped.

The participants' cardiovascular health was tested in several ways. The activity of protein C, which plays the role of an anticoagulant and reduces the risk of thrombus formation, was measured. C-reactive protein was measured as it is one of the basic inflammatory markers. Determined the degree of expansion of blood vessels under the influence of increased blood flow, as well as vascular elasticity. It was found that after two hours of being in a gassed atmosphere, the performance of the heart and blood vessels did not change in the best way.

Those who inhaled the polluted air, increased markers of inflammation and fibrinogen activity , inhibited the function of the anticoagulant protein - that is, the participants had an increased risk of blood clots. Heart rhythm disturbances were observed, the vascular walls lost their elasticity, which generally worsened blood circulation. It is noteworthy that these unfavorable changes persisted for 24 hours, that is, even after the person went out into the fresh air. What can we say about people who live or work in the central parts of cities, where the air is almost constantly polluted.

Scientists have been talking about the relationship between the composition of the atmosphere and the development of cardiovascular diseases for a long time. Now they have presented indisputable facts of the negative impact of ecology on human health.

More information can be found on the website of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology

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