Asthma :: Pollution may increase heart risk for asthma sufferers

Asthma sufferers who breath air containing large particles of pollution, such as road or construction dust, may face an increased risk of heart problems, say researchers.

The researchers therefore urge asthma sufferers to consider staying indoors when levels of air pollution are high.

Dr Karin Yeatts, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, and team studied 12 adults with persistent asthma who were aged 21?50 years.

The researchers assessed blood samples taken from the participants over a period of 11 weeks and compared their findings with levels of air pollution measured on the day the samples were collected.

They found that exposure to high levels of large air pollutants increased asthma sufferers? levels of blood fats called triglyerides.. Elevated blood levels of triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Similar increases in air levels of large pollution particles resulted in a 3% decrease in the participants? heart rate variability, which indicates that the heart is experiencing stress.

The team also found that exposure to high levels of large pollution particles was associated with increased levels of white blood cells associated with inflammation, which can also be a risk factor for heart disease.

Commenting on the implications of the findings for asthma sufferers, Dr Yeatts said: ?Susceptible people really need to pay attention to air pollution warnings and stay inside when the air pollution is bad. This is particularly the case for people with asthma.?

The research is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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