A recent article on air pollution has pointed out a study showing that fine particulate matter in air pollution is associated with elevated markers of inflammation and increased death of endothelial cells.
The findings of the study on airborne particulate matter conclude that exposure to the particulates in pollution induces reversible vascular injury, and that these changes may be related to mechanisms by which exposure to particulate air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and adverse cardiovascular events.
This sort of environmental damage affects the young and old alike. Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, said in a press release, “These findings suggest that living in a polluted environment could promote the development of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke more pervasively and at an earlier stage than previously thought.”
Though endothelial damage is reversible, the damages from cardiovascular events is not. Likewise, pollution-prompted inflammation, though treatable, can exacerbate other conditions. “A normal immune response to a pathogen or other foreign body requires some inflammation, but when inflammation is excessive and has no protective or healing role, the condition can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, as well as other disorders.”
When it comes to the effects on your health, your environment is not always a factor you can control. Knowing your risks and making healthy choices on what you can control is your best defense against pollution.