Lung function (how well your lungs can work; estimated by tests that measure how quickly your lungs can take air in and expel it out, how good they are at oxygenating blood and removing carbon dioxide) can be an indicator of chances of stroke and heart disease, according to a recent study.
The study published in the journal Chest, by scientists Dr Aaron R. Folsom of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and colleagues, took into account 13,842 middle- aged adults, one fourth of whom were blacks. A follow- up showed the incidence of 472 strokes with in a period of 13 years.
The results showed a positive correlation of poor lung function with increased chances of stroke.
In other words, there was a higher chance of persons with poor lung function getting a stroke. This was even if they never smoked or had any respiratory problems.
Dr Stephan F. van Eeden, of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, co-author of accompanying editorial claims that in a previous study he and his colleagues helped establish that exposure to air pollutants can lead to hardening of the arteries.
This could explain the relationship between reduced lung function and stroke in people who had never smoked, he points out.
Other significant findings were that the risk of white subjects with lowest lung function having a stroke was the greatest: 59 percent in contrast with those having the highest lung function.
Not to be overlooked, this relationship was not found in blacks.
According to researchers this could be either because the sample size of blacks included in the study was relatively small or that the lung function tests conducted may not have been accurate.
Nevertheless, the significant finding of the study was that exposure to air pollutants, known to decrease lung function could be put in the same category of risk factors for stroke and heart diseases, along with better known devils such as high cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking and diabetes.