Exposure to air pollution is very hazardous to health. It accelerates the thickening of artery walls that leads to cardiovascular diseases, say experts.
A study at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in collaboration with international partners in Spain and Switzerland has been published in the journal PloS ONE.
In the study researchers found that the thickening of artery wall among people living within 100 meters of a Los Angeles highway progressed twice as quickly as those who lived farther away.
“The fact that we can detect progression of atherosclerosis in relation to ambient air pollution above and beyond other well-established risk factors indicates that environmental factors may play a larger role in the risk for cardiovascular disease than previously suspected," says co-author Howard N. Hodis, M.D., director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit.
Atherosclerosis, which can be explained as stiffening and calcification of arteries, is a condition that leads to heart attacks, stroke and related deaths.