Air Pollution Linked to Higher CVD Risk

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Three months of exposure associated with higher cholesterol levels
Three months of exposure associated with higher cholesterol levels

(HealthDay News) — Air pollution can worsen cardiovascular disease risk factors, especially in patients with diabetes, according to a study published online May 24 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The researchers analyzed the results of more than 600,000 blood samples taken between 2003 and 2012 from 73,117 adults in southern Israel.

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The researchers found that those exposed to higher levels of air pollution in the previous three months had higher blood glucose levels, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol than those exposed to lower levels of air pollution. In general, the link between air pollution and these cardiovascular disease risk factors was stronger among patients with diabetes. However, there appeared to be a protective effect among those taking diabetes medications other than insulin.

"While air pollution is linked with relatively small changes in cardiometabolic risk factors, the continuous nature of exposure and the number of people affected gives us cause for concern," senior author Victor Novack, M.D., Ph.D., of the Soroka University Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel, said in a journal news release. "Even small changes in glucose levels and glycemic control can contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease."

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