Another proof that air pollution is more than just breathing issues, a new study shows that air pollution is linked to carotid artery stenosis (CAS) and stroke.

The scientists, Newman JD, Thurston GD, Cromar K, et al, analyzed data from 307,444 people living in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They found that the more the neighbour is polluted by particulate matter and the more the residents are likely to develop a carotid artery stenosis (CAS) which is a narrowing of neck arteries that occurs frequently before a stroke.

On the figure below one can see that the more the population is exposed to air pollution (the higher the PM2.5 concentration in the air is) and the higher the odds ratio for CAS. The 307,444 people were separated into 4 groups or quartile. The quartile 1 represents people living in zip codes with the lower levels of pollution and the quartile 4 represents people living in zip codes with the higher levels of pollution. The figure clearly shows that the chances of developing a carotid artery stenosis is higher for group 4 (quartile 4) than for group 1 (quartile 1).


More precisely, for residents living in the 25% more polluted areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (quartile 4) the scientists found a 24% increase of CAS in comparison with the average level in the population. The resident of the quartile 4 presented also more hypertension.

The well-known risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. Everyone knows that. The conclusion of this study is that everyday air pollution may also pose a significant stroke risk. We can’t ignore it anymore. This study took place near New York where the concentration of PM stays under 15 μg/m3, at least most of the time. In China and India PM concentration can reach 100 and sometimes 200 μg/m3…

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Source: JACC

Image credit: Wattpad

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