New Study Shows Air Pollution Affects Young Adults

December 20, 2016
New Study Shows Air Pollution Affects Young Adults

For years, experts worried air pollution could cause health problems for young and elderly people with pre-existing medical conditions. Now, a new study suggests it could also cause serious issues for healthy young adults without any preexisting medical conditions.
Damage to Arteries
Air pollution is thought to cause tens of thousands of deaths around the world, with young children and seniors with medical conditions at the highest risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that airborne pollutants are “wreaking havoc on human health” in response to scientific studies focusing on potential dangers. New research appears to bolster these claims by drawing a link between air pollution particles and arterial damage in young and healthy people.
Appearing in the journal Circulation Research, the study included 72 subjects from Provo, Utah with an average age of 23. After collecting blood samples from each participant during the winters of 2013, 2014 and 2015, researchers found that whenever air pollution rose, the number of dead cell fragments in the subjects’ bloodstreams increased. Dead cell fragments are a strong indicator of damage to the inner lining of arteries and veins.
The researchers couldn't say whether pollution particles caused damage by directly entering the bloodstream or by harming the lungs. That said, they did warn that these particles appear to have a significant impact on the health of young adults by increasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
What You Can Do
While it may be impossible to avoid all air pollutants, you can reduce exposure with the following tips:
Exercise early in the day when ozone levels are low.
Avoid heavy traffic when possible.
When sitting in your vehicle, set the fan on re-circulate.
Check your area's air quality index at www.airnow.gov before making outdoor plans.
If you do live in a city with high air pollution rates, make sure to visit your doctor for regular checkups. This is especially important if you have asthma or any other pre-existing health issues.

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