The World Health Organization (WHO) has already announced that low air quality can cause a lot of health issues, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Southeast Asia is the most exposed region in the world to pollutants, but the air is also toxic across many developed countries, including the United States. Now, according to a new study, air pollution is one of the leading cause of higher strike risks in the US.
A preliminary set of results of the new study, presented during the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaii, revealed that US counties with higher toxicity levels in the air also account for more stroke cases than those US regions with clean air.
For their study, the scientists chose to estimate the average annual levels of fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution across 1,561 counties in the United States, between 2005 and 2010. More than half of the counties the scientists surveyed presented an annual average of fine air pollution above 12 mcg/m3. That’s above the values environmental authorities deemed as safe.
Air Pollution Linked To Higher Stroke Risks In The US
According to the study, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, and Virginia are the most affected states. Also, there are many more stroke cases recorded than in any other region across the US.
“People who reside in areas that have a certain level of air pollution tend to have higher blood pressure,” also said Daniel T. Lackland, doctor of public health and a professor of epidemiology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
“All told, air pollutants are just one factor among many that can impact stroke risk. Other factors include a salty diet, a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking, poverty, and access to healthcare,” Lackland added.
“You certainly don’t want to be exposed to air pollution if you can help it. But if you live in a polluted area in the United States and your blood pressure is high, you should be more cognizant of your salt intake, losing weight if you’re overweight, and exercising regularly. We know those lifestyle habits can help lower blood pressure and can be extremely successful,” he concluded.