ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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