In yet another finding that shows air pollution is bad for more than just your lungs, a new study suggests long-term exposure could raise your risk of high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome includes a number of health conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
In this study, researchers analyzed data gathered from people living in private houses or apartment buildings in Kaunas City, which has a population of 280,000 and is the second largest city in Lithuania.
The study investigated the association between long-term exposure to air pollution, how far people lived from green spaces and major roads, and the development of high blood pressure and some components of metabolic syndrome, such as high triglyceride levels, lower levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar levels and obesity.
The investigators found that the effects were seen only in people who lived in apartment buildings. And while the study found an association, it could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The findings were published June 24 in the Journal of Public Health.
"Our research results enable us to say that we should regulate as much as possible the living space for one person in multifamily houses, improve the noise insulation of apartments, and promote the development of green spaces in multifamily houses," study author Agne Braziene said in a journal news release. Braziene is with the Institute of Cardiology at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.
The British Heart Foundation has more on air pollution and your heart.
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