People who live in urban areas where particulate air pollution is high tend to have higher blood pressure than those who live in less polluted areas, according to researchers from the University of Dusiburg-Essen in Germany
The researchers used data from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, an ongoing population-based cohort study of almost 5,000 individuals that focuses on the development of heart disease. They analysed the effects of air pollution exposure on blood pressure between 2000 and 2003.
While some earlier studies have shown that acute increases in particulate air pollution, such as day-to-day fluctuations, can raise blood pressure, little was known about medium- and long-term exposure. "Our results show that living in areas with higher levels of particle air pollution is associated with higher blood pressure," said Barbara Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H., head of the Unit of Environmental and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, and senior author of the study.
The results were presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.
The authors used a dispersion and chemistry transport model to estimate long-term exposure to particulate pollution. For the blood pressure measurement, they used an automated oscillometric device that detects the blood's movement through the brachial artery and converts the movements into a digital reading.
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