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Air pollution spikes linked to irregular heartbeats, study finds

Spikes in air pollution increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias, a large study has found. The research, based on nearly 200,000 hospital admissions in China, found a significant increase in risk of arrhythmias in the first few hours after an increase in air pollution levels. Heart arrhythmias can increase the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death. We found that acute exposure to ambient air pollution was associated with increased risk of symptomatic arrhythmia,” said Dr Renjie Chen of Fudan University in Shanghai. “The risks occurred during the first several hours after exposure and could persist for 24 hours.” A study last year reported a link between fine particulate air pollution and cardiac arrhythmias in otherwise healthy teenagers, and confirmed that this translates to a meaningful health risk. The study also suggested that the exposure risk from six pollutants was roughly linear without an obvious safe threshold. The study included 190,115 patients admitted to hospital in 322 Chinese cities, who were suffering from sudden onset arrythmia, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, premature beats and supraventricular tachycardia. Air pollution in China is well above the World Health Organization’s guidelines for air quality, and the researchers analysed the concentrations of six air pollutants from monitoring stations closest to the reporting hospitals. Of these, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had the strongest association with all four types of arrythmia. The exact impact of air pollution is not clear, but there is some evidence that it causes oxidative stress and inflammation, which can affect the heart’s electrical activity. “Although the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, the association between air pollution and acute onset of arrhythmia that we observed is biologically plausible,” the authors wrote. A previous study found that on high pollution days in England hundreds more people are rushed into hospital for emergency care after suffering cardiac arrests, strokes and asthma attacks. In 2020, the British Heart Foundation estimated more than 160,000 people could die in the coming decade from strokes and heart attacks linked to air pollution. And the health impacts extend beyond heart disease, with research showing that particulate air pollution is driving up rates of lung cancer, by awakening dormant mutations that trigger the growth of tumours. The authors said the findings, published in the Canadian Medical Associatiown Journal, highlight the need to protect at-risk people during heavy air pollution and to reduce overall exposure. fb-messenger://share?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2F2023%2Fmay%2F01%2Fair-pollution-spikes-linked-to-irregular-heartbeats-study-finds%3FCMP%3Dshare_btn_me&app_id=180444840287

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  • We Don't Have Time

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    Dear monicah mbesu Your climate warning has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to REPUBLIC OF CHINA by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

    1
    • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

      58 w

      its time for Chinese government to act as fast as possible to avert the crisis.

      5
      • Kevin

        59 w

        The chinese government needs to really step up

        6
        • Tabitha Kimani

          59 w

          China should take care of its air pollution. Its a health hazard and they cant continue this way.

          3
          • Daniel Waweru

            59 w

            This is absurd! Chinese Govt must act up

            3
            • rosebellendiritu

              59 w

              Very sad, should think of avoiding the health risks

              4
              • Joseph Githinji

                59 w

                This is absurd, the Chinese government must stand up and act. Endangering human health is a grave issue.

                14
                • Munene Mugambi

                  59 w

                  The Chinese government needs to take care of this

                  14
                  • Annett Michuki..

                    59 w

                    this is sad, especially for the children

                    6
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