ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Add your Article

Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death

here's growing proof that air pollution is associated with heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death, says an updated American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement released Monday.

Of the different types of air pollution, the evidence is strongest for fine particulate matter (called PM2.5 by scientists because the particles have a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less). Its tiny size makes it more likely to infiltrate even the smallest airways, and according to the experts who wrote the updated statement, it's the type of air pollution most likely to cause cardiovascular disease.

Major sources of PM2.5 include fossil fuel combustion from industry, traffic and power generation.

"Particulate matter appears to directly increased risk by triggering events in susceptible individuals within hours to days of an increased level of exposure, even among those who otherwise may have been healthy for years," statement lead author Dr. Robert D. Brook said in an AHA news release.

"Growing evidence also shows that longer-term PM2.5 exposures, such as over a few years, can lead to an even larger increase in these health risks," he added. As a result, the AHA stated that fine particulate matter "should be recognized as a 'modifiable factor' that contributes to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality."

Those at highest risk from PM2.5 exposure include the elderly, people with existing heart diseases (for example, heart failure or coronary artery disease), and possibly those with diabetes.

"The foremost message for these high-risk groups remain that they should work to control their modifiable traditional risk factors -- blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, [and] smoking," said Brook, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In addition, he wrote, people can limit their exposure to PM2.5 pollution "by decreasing their time outside when particle levels are high and reducing time spent in traffic."

He and colleagues also concluded that there is:

* Strong level of evidence of a link between air pollution and ischemic heart disease (a narrowing of the coronary arteries that prevents adequate blood supply to the heart).
* Modest level of evidence that air pollution is associated with peripheral vascular diseases, irregular heartbeats and cardiac arrest.
* A "moderate, yet growing link" between air pollution and heart failure and ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by an interruption on the blood flow to the brain).
* A "small yet consistent" association between short-term exposure to air pollution and premature death.

The updated statement appears online May 10 in the journal Circulation.

SOURCES: American Heart Association, news release, May 10, 2010 Published on: May 10, 2010