Air pollution tied to high blood pressure risk

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Air Pollution and Your Brain

(Reuters Health) - Short and long-term exposure to air pollution from vehicle exhaust or burning coal is associated with high blood pressure, according to a review of 17 studies.

SEE ALSO: Canadian man says he developed painful condition after long flight

"Since the 1990s, a hypothesis of air pollution leading to hypertension risk was proposed by many researchers," said senior author Tao Liu of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Guangzhou, China.

The researchers analyzed 17 studies of air pollution and hypertension, defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). In total, the studies included more than 80,000 people with high blood pressure and more than 220,000 people without it.

10 PHOTOS
EPA emissions, air pollution, SCOTUS and Obama
See Gallery
Air pollution tied to high blood pressure risk
Members of security stand outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday June 29, 2015. The Supreme Court is meeting for the final time until the fall to decide three remaining cases and add some new ones for the term that starts in October. The three remaining cases that are expected to be decided Monday raise important questions about a controversial drug that was implicated in botched executions, state efforts to reduce partisan influence in congressional redistricting and costly Environmental Protection Agency limits on the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Trucks head eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 10: A United Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport on June 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first steps to start the process of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from airplane exhaust. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Feb. 9, 2015, President Barack Obama listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The president is setting a goal of raising $2 billion from the private sector for investments in clean energy. The White House says it's launching a Clean Energy Investment Initiative as part of the Obama administration's effort to address climate change.The Energy Department will solicit investments from philanthropists and investors concerned about climate change. The aim is to spur development of technologies and energy sources that are low in carbon dioxide pollution, such as solar panels, wind power, fuel cells and advanced batteries. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Trucks head eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A truck heads eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
JOLIET, IL - MAY 07: Traffic backs up at an intersecton in front of NRG Energy's Joliet Station power plant on May 7, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois. According to scientists, global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have reached a new monthly record of 400 parts per million, levels that haven't been seen for about two million years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports the combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the United States, followed by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JOLIET, IL - MAY 07: An American flag hangs in front of NRG Energy's Joliet Station power plant on May 7, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois. According to scientists, global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have reached a new monthly record of 400 parts per million, levels that haven't been seen for about two million years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports the combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the United States, followed by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the podium as Christiana Figueres, far left, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, listens at a news conference at the natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Los Angeles Monday, June 15, 2015. Brown says he wants California's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be a model when global leaders meet to try and fashion a universal agreement to combat climate change. Brown also met with Figueres and leading scientists to discuss the impacts of global warming and the need for action at all levels of government.(AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

They found that short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide from burning fossil fuels and to particulates like dust and dirt in the air were associated with high blood pressure risk, as was long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, which comes from power plants and vehicle exhaust.

Short-term exposure to ozone and carbon monoxide were not tied to blood pressure levels, as reported in the journal Hypertension.

Air pollution can cause inflammation and oxidative stress which may lead to changes in the arteries, the authors write.

"There is a linear relationship between air pollution and hypertension, which indicated that even a very low level of air pollution might induce hypertension risk," Liu told Reuters Health by email. "Therefore, everyone should be concerned about the effects of air pollution on their blood pressure even if there is a very low air pollution level in their living environment."

"However, it is impossible to remove all of the air pollutants from the environments," Liu said.

The studies in this review tie pollution to high blood pressure but don't prove that one causes the other, Liu said.

More studies, especially multi-center studies, are needed to investigate a causal relationship between air pollution and high blood pressure, Liu said.

"Without a clear mechanism we cannot conclude that pollution 'causes' hypertension," said Dr. Gaetano Santulli of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who was not part of the new study. "However, we should recall (going back to 1954) that epidemiological evaluations provided strong statistical support in linking cigarette smoking and cancer."

Hypertension affects more than three million people in the U.S.

Quitting smoking, eating healthy, reducing intake of sodium and sugar, reducing chronic stress, and exercising regularly can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, Santulli told Reuters Health by email.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/12YDNZq Hypertension, online May 31, 2016.

Read Full Story

People are Reading