Does Lower Air Quality Lead to Higher Blood Pressure?
There are a lot of things about city living that could potentially raise your blood pressure: the noise, the traffic, the crowds, safety concerns, and more. Now a German study raises the possibility that there is one more blood pressure-raising feature of urban life: air pollution. "Both, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, are higher in people who live in more polluted areas, even if we take important factors that also influence blood pressure like age, gender, smoking, weight, etc. into account," says Barbara Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H., head of the Unit of Environmental and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, and senior author of the study. The blood pressure increases were stronger in women than in men.
The research was drawn from data from nearly 5,000 people involved in a cohort study focusing on heart disease. The researchers found that average arterial blood pressure rose by 1.7 mmHg in people exposed to the kind of fine particulate matter that comes from traffic, heating, industry and power plants. Similar results occurred in people exposed to coarser particulate matter, such as that from earth crust material and roadway pollution. The researchers also found that it didnt matter how close people lived to busy streets, lowering the chance that the increase in blood pressure was due to noise exposure.