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Air pollution may increase blood pressure

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Exposure to air pollution may be associated with high systolic blood pressure and incident hypertension, according to a study in in Hypertension.

Researchers analyzed ambient air pollution and the effects long-term and short-term exposure had on 5342 participants from urban Delhi, India.

At baseline, the median annual exposure was 92.1 μg/m3 and the median monthly exposure was 82.4 μg/m3. An average increase of 1.77 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure for each interquartile range differences in monthly and annual exposures, respectively, after adjusting for covariates, was found.

Interquartile range differences in long-term exposures of 1 year increased the risk of incident hypertension by 1.53×, 2 years by 1.59×, and 3 years by 1.16x.

“Our data strongly support a temporal association between high levels of ambient air pollution, higher systolic blood pressure, and incident hypertension,” the authors concluded. “Given that high blood pressure is an important risk factor of cardiovascular disease, reducing ambient air pollution is likely to have meaningful clinical and public health benefits.

Prabhakaran D, Mandal S, Krishna B, et al. Exposure to particulate matter is associated with elevated blood pressure and incident hypertension in urban India. Hypertension. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.15373