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Air Pollution Increases the Risk of High Blood Pressure

Published on 27th October 2016

Living in an area with high air pollution could increase your risk of developing high blood pressure according to a new study.

Research published in the European Heart Journal and conducted by researchers at the Centre for Health and Society at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf found that for every 100 adults who experience prolonged exposure to air pollution, one more will develop high blood pressure than in a group of 100 adults living in a less polluted area.

The study also looked at the effects of traffic noise on people’s health, and found that louder streets may also lead to an increase in your blood pressure.

When both aspects of an environment are taken into account, the chances of developing high blood pressure increased by 22%.

The study examined 41,072 participants across five countries over a period of five to nine years, making it the biggest of its kind ever conducted.

Commenting on the findings, Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “High blood pressure is a silent killer. You may not notice you have it, but it can increase your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.”

He added that the nature of the disease indicates why managing blood pressure is so important – and why the findings of this study should encourage the EU to re-examine the maximum exposure levels of air pollution it currently advises.

Seeking out areas with lower air pollution may not be the only way to look after your heart. According to Johannes Hinrich von Borstel, author of the new book ‘Heart: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Important Organ’, we should have more sex with the person we love, eat raw garlic every day and get a good night’s sleep to improve our cardiovascular health.

Speaking to The Telegraph, he explained that the release of hormones before and during sex can have a “protective effect” on the cardiovascular system, while raw garlic acts as a natural blood thinner and thereby improves blood supply to the body’s tissues and organs.

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