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Air pollution linked to heart disease, stroke risk: Study

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London: Air pollution and living in apartment buildings may increase the risk of developing dangerous conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Researchers from Lithuanian University of Health Sciences investigated the link between a long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and residential distance to green spaces and major roads with the development of hypertension and some components of metabolic syndrome.

These components included a high triglyceride level, reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, higher blood glucose, and obesity.

The associations were assessed among people who lived in either private or multifamily houses.

The results indicate that air pollution levels above the median are associated with a higher risk of reduced high density lipoprotein.

“Our research results enable us to say that we should regulate as much as possible the living space for one person in multifamily houses, improve the noise insulation of apartments, and promote the development of green spaces in multifamily houses,” said Agn Brazien, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Public Health.

Traffic-related exposure was associated with the incidence of hypertension, higher triglyceride level and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

However, the negative impact of traffic air pollutants was observed only in the participants who lived in multifamily buildings.

Since there is more traffic near the multifamily apartment buildings, this may be associated with the incidence of hypertension as well.

In addition, a built-up environment, high residential density, street traffic and its configurations are further factors associated with social interactions and supportive relationships, which could also impact cardiovascular health.

The greenness, size, and type (activity) of the available open public spaces were observed to be inversely related to the risk factors assessed.

Researchers have additionally found positive effects of the natural environment, and have emphasised the positive impact of such spaces on cardiovascular health.

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