Air Pollution Gives Women “Heart Break”

You thought air pollution only hurt our lungs?

Air_pollution_2 Not so. When women breathe the polluted air that’s common in many cities, we’re also increasing our risk of heart disease.

Here’s what happens: air pollution is made up of minute particles of dirt, dust, soot and grit that come from burning fuel at power plants, industrial facilities and cars. When we breathe in dirty air, the "particulates" get stuck deep inside our lungs. If our lungs get inflamed as a result, we could have a heart attack or stroke. Women are more susceptible than men to air pollution, and the heart problems it causes, because our blood vessels are smaller than men’s, among other reasons.

Scientists at the University of Washington analyzed data available through the Women’s Health Initiative, a national research project that studies the health status of 65,893 women. Their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, should reinforce the efforts being made by many environmental and health groups to strengthen air quality regulations.

It also provides more reason for all of us to buy fuel-efficient cars, compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances and other produccts that will burn less energy and help reduce soot and smog.

Save energy, save a heart.

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