HERSHEY, Pa., May 19 (UPI) — Air pollution increases stress on the heart and increases the risk of heart disease, U.S. researchers said.
Duanping Liao, a professor of public health sciences, at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine said a body’s ability to regulate the heartbeat so the heart can pump the right amount of blood into the circulation system relies on the stability of the heart’s electrical activity — electrophysiology.
“Air pollution is associated with cardiopulmonary mortality and morbidity, and it is generally accepted that impaired heart electrophysiology is one of the underlying mechanisms,” Liao said in a statement.
“This impairment is exhibited through fluctuations in the heart rate from beat to beat over an established period of time, known as heart rate variability. It is also exhibited through a longer period for the electric activity to return to the baseline, known as ventricular repolarization.”
Liao’s team tracked 106 non-smokers age 45 and older from central Pennsylvania, who wore air-quality and heart-rate monitors for 24 hours.
The study found heart electrophysiology was affected up to six hours after elevated PM2.5 — combustion-related small particles — exposure.
The findings were published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology and in Environmental Health Prospective.
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