Air Pollution Exposure Linked to Stroke Risk Within 5 Days

A meta-analysis suggests that brief exposure to air pollution may raise the risk of stroke within five days.

The American Academy of Neurology's medical publication, Neurology, reported findings that the short-term exposure was classified as happening within five days of the stroke.

One of the most significant environmental health risks is air pollution. Countries can lessen the disease burden from lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic and acute respiratory illnesses, including asthma, by decreasing air pollution levels.

In 2019, 99% of people on Earth lived in areas where the WHO's recommended air quality criteria were not being reached. As a result, 6.7 million premature deaths are attributed to the impacts of home and ambient air pollution combined annually.

Previous research has established a connection between long-term exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of stroke.

- Ahmad Toubasi, study author

He continues that the link between short-term exposure to air pollution and stroke has been less prominent. In the study, they examined five days of direction rather than weeks or months and discovered a connection between brief exposure to air pollution and an elevated risk of stroke.

Inside the study

Over 18 million stroke cases from 110 studies were examined for the meta-analysis. Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide were studied.

They also examined several particle sizes, including PM1, air pollution with a diameter of less than 1 millimeter (m), and PM2.5 and PM10. Inhalable particles from motor vehicle exhaust, fuel burning by power plants and other businesses, and smoke from forest and grass fires are all included in PM2.5 or smaller.

PM10 contains dust from highways and building sites. Stroke risk was more significant in people exposed to higher concentrations of several air pollutants.

Higher levels of ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide were each associated with a 26%, 28%, 5%, and 15% increase in the risk of stroke, respectively.

A greater PM1 concentration was associated with a 9% higher risk of stroke, a 15% higher risk for PM2.5, and a 14% higher risk for PM10. An increased risk of dying from a stroke has also been associated with higher air pollution levels.

More significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, PM2.5, and PM10 were each associated with a 33%, 60%, 9%, and 2% increase in the chance of dying from a stroke, respectively.

According to Toubasi, air pollution is strongly and significantly linked to both the development of stroke and the mortality from stroke within five days of exposure.

"This highlights the importance of global efforts to create policies that reduce air pollution. Doing so may reduce the number of strokes and their consequences."

The fact that most of the research was carried out in high-income nations and that there needed to be more information from low- and middle-income countries was a limitation of the meta-analysis.

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