Air Pollution Among The Causes Of High Blood Pressure

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald June 01, 05:00 am

Air pollution doesn't just target a person's respiratory system. Dirty air and smog are also causing high blood pressure among people.

Short-Term And Long-Term Effects

Around 328,000 individuals were examined in polluted areas in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United States. Tao Liu, epidemiologist and the author of the study published in the journal Hypertension, said air pollutants like coal burning, vehicle exhaust and airborne air or dust have short-term and long-term effects on high blood pressure risks, according to the U.S. News & World Report (via HealthDay).

Short-term effects include temporary high blood pressure, or hypertension, which may require hospitalization. However, people living in highly polluted areas for many years may end up with chronically high blood pressure that can lead to stroke and heart diseases.

Other causes of high blood pressure are genes, diet and environmental factors and lifestyle practices, HealthDay further reported. Liu and Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the recent study should urge authorities to do more measures in decreasing air pollution levels.

Fonarow said cleaner air has cardiovascular benefits, and advised people living in highly polluted areas to exercise more and to refrain from outdoor activities if it can be helped. Liu, meanwhile, recommended the use of air purifiers in residential homes.

In the U.K., air pollution is to be blamed for around 50,000 deaths annually. The government is being urged to introduce a scrappage system for old vehicles that use dirty diesel and emit harmful nitrogen oxide particles, Mirror reported.

Beijing, China, one of the world's most polluted cities, has been making improvements in lowering its smog levels. Beijing is using a combination of energy structure optimization, coal-fired emission control, vehicle emission control and heightened air quality monitoring, according to

India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have alarming pollution levels. The cities of London, New York and Sydney, meanwhile, saw decreasing levels of smog thanks to tougher government measures, the Guardian listed.

New Sources Of Air Pollution Discovered

A recent satellite study published in the journal Nature Geoscience found that sulfur dioxide emissions can negatively affect people's health and the environment, and even might be contributing to global warming. Sulfur dioxide pollution comes from several natural and industrial sources like volcanoes, oil refineries and burning of fossil fuels.

Researchers found that seven to 14 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide are missing from global inventories annually, the Washington Post noted. Missing sources of sulfur dioxide is a problem because it's unaccounted for, which leads to a biased view of the world's pollution levels.

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