In a new review article, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from University Hospitals (UH), Case Western Reserve University and Boston College discuss evidence linking pollution and cardiovascular disease.
In a new review article, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from University Hospitals (UH), Case Western Reserve University and Boston College discuss evidence linking pollution and cardiovascular disease. The research team highlights strategies for reducing individual exposure to pollution, and the importance of government-supported interventions encouraging clean energy.
The researchers note that pollution was estimated to be responsible for nine million deaths worldwide in 2019, 5.1 million of which were due to cardiovascular disease. They explain that while these numbers are high, they likely undercut the full contribution of pollution to the global burden of cardiovascular disease, as they are based on a subset of known environmental risk factors. Attribution of health effects to pollutants can be complex, given their ubiquitous presence in the environment and the expanding list of chemicals associated with human health effects.
“Until now, prevention of cardiovascular diseases has focused almost exclusively on individual behavioral and metabolic risk factors,” said Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, chief of cardiovascular medicine and the Herman K. Hellerstein, MD, Chair in Cardiovascular Research at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and director of the Case Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “Pollution reduction has received scant attention in programs for cardiovascular disease control and has been largely absent from guidelines.”
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, Director of the Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good, Director of the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, and Professor of Biology at the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College collaborated with Dr. Rajagopalan on the review. The researchers emphasize that their overarching goal is to persuade all physicians of the importance of considering pollution as a risk factor when working with their patients to prevent and control cardiovascular disease.
Read more at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
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