High PM2.5 levels are linked to a rise in cardiovascular diseases.

News Environmental Health

When an individual is exposed to PM2.5 alone, the risk of dying from a heart attack increases by 6%, that of dying from a stroke increases by 11%, that of dying from all cardiovascular diseases increases by 12%, and that of dying from all other causes increased by 10%.

New Delhi: It’s that time of the year again when Delhi-NCR experiences severe air quality conditions. The nation’s capital’s air quality declined to “poor” levels on Wednesday. Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is now at 211, down from 150, while nearby areas like Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurugram, and Noida experienced worse air quality.

When the AQI is between 201 and 300, it is deemed “poor,” and when it is 301 or higher, it is deemed “hazardous” or “severe,” endangering the health and welfare of the public. People exposed to delicate Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the air for an extended period may develop serious health problems.

According to a recent study, airborne particle radioactivity can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, specifically the risk of heart attack or stroke. The chemical element Radon, which is radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless, reflects from particulate matter, causing particle radioactivity. “The radioactive decay of uranium, which is present in rocks and soil, produces the particle radioactivity naturally. As Radon migrates into the atmosphere, it breaks down into isotopes that emit alpha, beta, and gamma radiation “the research clarified.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found a link between chronic particle radioactivity and PM2.5 exposure and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke death, as well as all other non-accidental causes of death.

To provide more accurate exposure predictions, the researchers used spatiotemporal predictions of gross beta-activity, a technique that uses different variables across space and time. They calculated how long-term (months/year) gross beta-activity exposure affects death from cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and death from all non-accidental causes in Massachusetts by looking at health records from more than 7,00,000 non-accidental deaths between 2001 and 2015. Additionally, they examined the relationship between PM2.5 and particle radioactivity and predicted the impact of PM2.5 on deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.

A heart attack death risk increase of 16%, a stroke death risk increase of 11%, a death risk increase of 7% from all types of cardiovascular disease, and a death risk increase of 4% from all other non-accidental causes were all found to be associated with particle radioactivity exposure alone, according to the middle 50% of the data spread.

Similarly, exposure to PM2.5 alone increased the risk of dying from a heart attack by 6%, a stroke by 11%, all cardiovascular diseases by 12%, and all other non-accidental causes by 10%.

You can take these necessary precautions to shield yourself and your loved ones from air pollution:

  • Keep as much of your time indoors as possible,
  • Avoid exercising outside, 
  • Purchase an air purifier, 
  • Abstain from smoking 
  • Purchase a mask with an “N95” label that can filter out PM2.5 particles.

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