Hyderabad: Thanks to vehicular pollution, an increasing number of young people are visiting hospitals with disturbances in their cardiac rhythm and cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies and evidence presented in the European Society of Cardiology Congress stated that pollution has inflammatory effects on the heart leading to chronic cardiovascular problems.
Researchers have suggested that exposure to pollutants can push the risk of heart attacks up by five per cent. Hence, the impact of exposure to pollutants, vehicular pollution in particular, needs to be studied.
The worst affected are bikers, people traveling in autorickshaws and also those living close to heavy traffic areas like junctions and highways.
Dr A. Sreenivas Kumar, chief cardiologist at Citizens Hospital, said, “The worst impact is on bikers, autorickshaw drivers and passengers and also those living close to traffic junctions. It is due to exposure to tiny particles of soot or dust in the traffic fumes. These fine particles are known as particulate matter (PM) 2.5. These easily enter the body and can’t be detected even in the screening process. The matter begin to irritate the lungs and blood vessels around the heart. Over a period of time, and if the exposure is continuous, the pollutants aggravate the process of disease in the arteries. When we see cases of young men who are fit, not obese and also leading a happy-go-lucky life, yet complaining of heart problems, we begin to check their travel history. Pollution is now an accepted factor for cardiovascular diseases.”
It has been found that an increase of 10 micrograms per cubic metre of particulate matter in the air can increase the risk by 5.1 per cent. And those who travel in buses and bigger vehicles are at higher risk.
Dr G. Ravikanth, consultant and interventional cardiologist said, “People who are travelling by buses and bigger vehicles are more exposed to particulate matter of less than 2.5 PM as it tends to float in higher levels. Hence those living or working in areas which sees vehicular pollution suffer from irritation in the eyes, nose, throat and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis. These are the initial signs that the exposure is too high and requires to be addressed.”