Exposure to air pollution is associated with risk of stroke: Study
According to a meta-analysis short-term exposure to air pollution may be associated with an elevated risk of stroke. Short-term exposure was defined as taking place within five days after the stroke. The study was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology
“Previous research has established a connection between long-term exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of stroke,” said study author Ahmad Toubasi, MD, of the University of Jordan in Amman.
“However, the correlation between short-term exposure to air pollution and stroke had been less clear. For our study, instead of looking at weeks or months of exposure, we looked at just five days and found a link between short-term exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of stroke.”
The meta-analysis involved a review of 110 studies that included more than 18 million cases of stroke. Researchers looked at pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone,risk of strokeand sulfur dioxide.
They also looked at different sizes of particulate matter, including PM1, which is air pollution that is less than 1 micron (μm) in diameter, as well as PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 or smaller includes inhalable particles from motor vehicle exhaust, the burning of fuels by power plants and other industries as well as forest and grass fires. PM10 includes dust from roads and construction sites.
People who had exposure to a higher concentration of various types of air pollution had an increased risk of stroke. Higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were linked to a 28 per cent increased risk of stroke; higher ozone levels were linked to a 5 per cent increase; carbon monoxide had a 26 per cent increase; and sulfur dioxide had a 15 per cent increase. A higher concentration of PM1 was linked to a 9 per cent increased risk of stroke, with PM2.5 at 15 per cent and PM10 at 14 per cent.
Higher levels of air pollution were also linked to a higher risk of death from stroke. Higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were linked to a 33 per cent increased risk of death from stroke, sulfur dioxide, a 60 per cent increase, PM2.5, a 9 per cent increase and PM10, a 2 per cent increase.
“There is a strong and significant association between air pollution and the occurrence of stroke as well as death from stroke within five days of exposure,” Toubasi said. “This highlights the importance of global efforts to create policies that reduce air pollution. Doing so may reduce the number of strokes and their consequences.”