Living near busy roads linked to heart damage
Exposure to air pollution has been linked to changes in heart structure similar to the early stages of heart failure, according to a new study.
Researchers examined data from about 4,000 people in the UK and discovered even those exposed to air pollution levels comfortably within UK guidelines exhibited changes in their heart ventricles.
The findings, published in the journal 'Circulation', showed a clear link between living near loud, busy roads and developing larger right and left ventricles in the heart.
This was even when the areas were not considered dirty air hotspots.
Living near the roads exposed them to nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5, which are small particles of air pollution.
Ventricle reshaping is apparent in the early stages of heart failure, as they are crucial pumping chambers to the heart.
The alarming change was more apparent in those who faced higher nitrogen dioxide levels - with the heart increasing in size for each extra measurement of nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 to which it was exposed.
Most participants lived outside major UK cities, according to the study, which was a collaboration between scientists at Queen Mary University of London and Oxford University.