A large community-based cohort study by the European Society of Cardiology has revealed that diesel pollution is harmful to the heart.
The particulate matter (PM) emitted by diesel road vehicles is linked with higher risk of heart failure, heart attack, and death, says the research lead. The researchers suppose that this is driven by an inflammatory response. The inhalation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) leads to the lungs’ localized inflammation which is followed by a systemic inflammation which affects the entire body.
Participants on an average were 62 years old and 47% of them were men. The researchers found linear associations between ambient PM2.5 level and the structure and function of the heart. As the exposure to PM2.5 rises, the heart gets larger and performs worse, both of which are linked with increased mortality and morbidity from heart disease.
The researchers also found that individuals with degree-level education were less susceptible to these heart issues upon exposure to PM2.5 than individuals with a lower education qualification. This could be due to several factors like better workplace and housing conditions. Furthermore, they may also have better health awareness, healthier lifestyles, and access to better healthcare.