Air quality has been said to influence health. Higher levels of coarse particles in the air associated with increase in same-day cardiovascular hospitalizations in major urban areas has been confirmed by a study performed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"We suspected that there was an association between coarse particles and health outcomes, but we didn't have the research to back that up before," says study leader Roger D. Peng, PhD, an associate professor of biostatistics at the Bloomberg School. "This work provides the evidence, at least for cardiovascular disease outcomes. I don't feel like we need another study to convince us. Now it's time for action."
Another recent study headed by Renjie Chen and Ang Zhao of Fudan University in Shanghai took 35 college students in Shanghai to randomly use real or fake air purifiers in their dorm rooms for 48 hours.
After two weeks passed under these conditions, the test subjects switched and spent another two days using whichever setup they had not used the first time.
The study does not simply come right out and state that an air purifier will prevent a heart attack or stroke. The study did, however, provide evidence that several risk factors for heart disease did improve among their test subject adults, who were set up to use an air purifier.
Air pollution has been known to cause respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and upper airway congestion that has been associated with heart disease. Airborne toxins are irritants that contain chemical compositions that lead to changes in the blood chemistry.
Rajagopalan, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, added that using an air purifier may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular events.
Fine particles in the air, increase the risk of heart related difficulties which includes strokes and heart attacks.
While using the real air purifiers in their rooms, the students showed significant improvements in several measures of inflammation and blood clotting, as well as significant decreases in blood pressure and a reduction in a measure of airway inflammation known as exhaled nitrous oxide. Add to this the fact that the dorm rooms had a 57 percent reduction in air pollution from about 96 micrograms per cubic meter to about 41 micrograms per cubic meter.
The researchers also found some improvements in lung function and blood vessel constriction, but those findings may have been due to chance.
It is a well known fact that China has one of the highest levels of air pollution in the world. The World Health Organization is 35 micrograms of tiny particles per cubic meter - but daily air pollution in major cities in Asia often exceed 100 to 500 micrograms per cubic meter, Rajagopalan writes in his editorial.
"From the standpoint of what you can do to protect yourself in these polluted environments, investing in home and car air filtration systems will lead to better air quality in the long term," Rajagopalan said.
Dr. Rachel Taliercio, a lung specialist in The Cleveland Clinic's Asthma Center in Ohio, cautioned that the benefit of air purification systems in homes might not be equal for everyone but was also quoted saying, "people who live near high-pollution areas, such as major roadways and coal power plants, air purifiers may be something to look into"
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