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Heart attacks triggered by pollution from heavy traffic fumes

Published on 21/09/2011

Health insurance customers worried about the health of their heart should avoid areas of heavy traffic, after a study has revealed that breathing in pollution can trigger the onset of a heart attack.

Published in the British Medical Journal, the results suggest that the risk of heart attack is raised for around 6 hours after initial exposure.

The researchers, led by Krishnan Bhaskaran from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, look at the medical records of almost 80,000 heart attack patients in England and Wales and plotted them against air pollution data.

Krishnan Bhaskaran said that by his calculations, being exposed to a spell of medium-level rather than low-level pollution would raise heart attack risk by 5%, by his calculations.

"If anything, it looks like it brings heart attack forward by a few hours. These are cardiac events that probably would have happened anyway” he said.

He also emphasised that that chronic exposure to air pollution was hazardous to health and shortens life expectancy.

Prof Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the study said:

"This large-scale study shows conclusively that your risk of having a heart attack goes up temporarily, for around six hours, after breathing in higher levels of vehicle exhaust.

"Unhealthy diets and smoking et cetera are much bigger heart attack risk factors, but car fumes are the cream on the cake that can tip you over”.

If you are worried about suffering a heart attack, choose a health insurance policy which covers the cost of full inpatient and day-patient treatment. Compare private medical insurance quotes now to get peace of mind about your future health.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Health
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