Publication Of Report On Cardiovascular Disease And Air Pollution, UK
Asthma/Respirator, Cardiovascular/Cardiology News
Article Date: 03 Mar 2006 - 7:00am (UK)
"-- That the inhalation of particles found in the air causes chemical reactions in the body to take place which increase the likelihood of blood to clot and/or atheromatous plaque to rupture, leading to heart attack.
-- That particles subtly affect the control of the heart's rhythm. "
A new report recognising the link between air pollution and heart disease, was published today by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution.
The report considers the possibility that cardiovasular related deaths, or the worsening of cardiovascular diseases, are directly linked to the breathing in of small concentrations of pollutants that are usually found in outdoor air. It is the first time that this link has been investigated in the UK.
The main findings of the report are:
-- Outdoor air pollutants are likely to associated with increased deaths and hospital admissions for cardiovascular related disease.
-- This association is not as large as factors such as family history, smoking and hypertension.
-- A precautionary principle should be adopted in future planning and policy development.
Professor Jon Ayres, Chairman of COMEAP, said:
"The evidence that exposure to air pollutants has important effects on the cardiovascular system is of public health concern and calls for greater research. Results from studies should feed into policy-making decision processes across different sectors of Government."
Although the Committe could no identify the exact mechanisms by which air pollution afects the cardiovascular system, they suggest two possible mechanisms:
-- That the inhalation of particles found in the air causes chemical reactions in the body to take place which increase the likelihood of blood to clot and/or atheromatous plaque to rupture, leading to heart attack.
-- That particles subtly affect the control of the heart's rhythm. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) was set up by the Chief Medical Officer in 1992. It is chaired by Professor Jon Ayres.
The Department of Health has a research programme which funds scientific research including work on the effects of air pollutants on the cardiovascular system.
An information pack on air pollution and health is available from the Department of Health Publications Centre, PO Box 410, Wetherby, LS23 7LN.
The report can be found on COMEAP website: http://www.dh.gov.uk
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