Total cholesterol levels in the human body must be lower than 160 mg/dl. (Representational Image)
Hyderabad: Air pollution, especially from vehicular exhausts, reduces the good cholesterol in the body, according to a recent study published in the April edition of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
The study highlights the increasing risk of heart disease as good cholesterol decreases. Air pollution is well known for causing respiratory ailments, but it is less well known that it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The study monitored 6,000 middle-aged and older adults living in areas of high traffic density and high levels of air pollution. It was found that in one year, those who had higher exposure to black carbon emitted from vehicles had considerably lower levels of good cholesterol in comparison to those with lower exposure to black carbon.
The study found that higher particulate matter exposure over three months is associated with lower good cholesterol.
Dr K.K. Aggarwal, senior cardiologist, explains these findings as being important for India because a majority of cities here have very high vehicular pollution.
"At the same time, we have a large number of patients reporting with metabolic problems like lack of stamina, suffering from thyroid, early fatigue and unable to carry out work with the alacrity required of them. This is being seen as oxygen pumped by the heart to the body not being sufficient because of the high levels of black carbon and particulate matter. Hence, a weak heart is also considered one of the reasons for low metabolic syndrome."