Women living in areas with higher air pollution levels may have an increased chance of a heart disease than their counterparts living in more cleaner surroundings.
The research done by scientists from Loma Linda University had reported their findings in the recent issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Their research findings suggest that the rate of dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) in women is more if they happen to live in areas that have a high level of air pollution in which ozone combines with particulate matter (PM). The risk may be as much as twice that of women breathing in cleaner air on a daily basis.
Researchers found statistically significant increases in the relative risk of fatal CHD in females as pollution levels increased when they analyzed PM levels alone. The risk estimates were strengthened when the study also considered ozone, and strengthened further when only postmenopausal females were included.
From 1977 to 1998, researchers obtained data from 3,239 nonsmoking, non-Hispanic white adults who participated in the Adventist Health Study on the health effects of smog. Upon enrollment, participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire detailing health status, lifestyle, and education. Researchers used data from subsequent questionnaires in 1977, 1987, 1992, and 2000 to obtain follow-up information related to residence and work location histories as well as essential characteristics regarding relative exposure to ambient air pollutants, occupational fumes and dust, and indoor pollutants such as secondhand tobacco smoke. None had any history of CHD, stroke, or diabetes.
During the 22-year follow-up, there were 155 fatal CHD cases in females and 95 among males. Those who died of CHD were older at baseline, had fewer years of education, and were more likely to have hypertension. Further, a larger proportion of the females were postmenopausal, and of these, fewer had undergone hormone replacement therapy.
The authors said that air pollution might affect females more than males because females may have a greater deposition of inhaled particles in their lungs, leading to increased health risk due to inflammatory responses to oxidative stress. They also think that females may be more sensitive to airborne pollution since they have fewer red blood cells than males, and thus may be more sensitive to the toxicological influences of air pollutants.
Medindia on Coronary Heart Disease (CHD):
Coronary Heart Disease: This is the condition that happens when the oxygen carried to the blood vessels does not reach the heart properly due to choked blood vessels. The blood vessels may have a build up of plaque, and may cause chest pains called angina. The condition of coronary heart disease may lead to heart attacks.