London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine have found that the risk of heart attacks increase significantly due to exposure to toxic fumes from cars. Emissions from vehicles contain highly toxic elements that have a hazardous influence on heart health. The results of the research were revealed by Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran from the above mentioned institute. According to Dr. Krishnan, there was a hike in the risk of heart attacks during a short six hour period following peak pollution hours. However, the researchers also found that in the next six hours that followed the hours of increased heart risk, there was a fall in the number of heart attack cases. He said that there was a distinct possibility that exposure to car fumes could fast forward the occurrence of heart attack in people who would have had an attack later in time.
However, he conceded that although two theories were suggested to explain this increase in heart attack risk and the way body responds to the toxic fumes, the research team did know the reasons for sure. One of the reasons for an increase in heart attacks was the impact that pollution had on lungs. Lungs inflame when toxic gases are inhaled, which triggers harmful chemicals to be released into the blood stream. This could cause the blood to thicken and lead to heart attacks. Clotting and blocked arteries could be the result of this. The other reason, according to Dr. Krishnan is that the toxic gases of pollution could impair the organs in the body that regulate the working of the heart. This could lead to disruption in the normal functioning and hence lead to heart attacks. He said that more studies would be necessary to prove the precise reason behind acceleration in heart attacks.
The study also proved that the risk of heart attack was directly proportional to the concentration of pollution. As one went farther from peak hours, risk of heart attacks reduced. This research has enforced the fact that people who have been diagnosed with heart problems should not live close to areas that experience high pollution levels. They should avoid congested roads at best or take precautions such as wearing filter breathing masks for some benefits. Dr. Krishnan also said that while exercising outdoors is good for the body, outdoor workouts in high pollution zones should be avoided. Although the risk of heart attacks is significant when a person is exposed to pollution, the research stressed that smoking is still the major killer. Obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are all leading causes of heart attacks and in their comparison; the risk of heart attack due to pollution is lower but not insignificant.