Features May 2012 Issue

Reduce Your Exposure to Air Pollution to Protect Your Heart

Research shows even short-term exposure to most pollutants raises your heart attack risk.

We tend to associate breathing polluted air with respiratory distress, but new research suggests that airborne pollutants may be putting your heart at risk, too. Exposure to polluted air, even for a few days, may significantly raise your risk of suffering a heart attack, according to a study published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers found that short-term exposure (up to seven days) to most major air pollutants is associated with an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. The study didnít point to a direct cause-and-effect relationship between pollution and cardiac risks, but did suggest that air pollution exposure poses a legitimate public health threat when it comes to cardiovascular risks.

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