New study shows air pollution linked to heart damage in kidney disease patients
The We For News reported according to new research that air pollution may have detrimental heart-related effects in people with kidney disease.
Air pollution is a major contributor to cardiovascular and kidney complications, but the mechanisms linking it with cardiorenal events are not well understood.
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University, in the US, sought to assess whether Galectin 3 level — a marker of myocardial fibrosis and remodeling is associated with air pollution exposure in hypertensive patients with and without chronic kidney disease.
Cardiac fibrosis is a scarring event in the cardiac muscle.
The study examined 1,019 adults, comparing satellite-derived PM2.5 measurements with participants’ systolic blood pressure level (the top number on a blood pressure reading).
They found no link between air pollution exposure and blood levels of Galectin 3 — a marker of scarring in the heart.
However, in adults who had chronic kidney disease (CKD) in addition to hypertension, air pollution exposure was associated with rising levels of Galectin 3 over time.
“Air pollution may be directly linked to the development of myocardial fibrosis in individuals with CKD,” said lead author Hafsa Tariq, from the varsity.
She added: “Efforts to limit air pollution could have a beneficial effect on lowering subclinical cardiovascular disease in CKD.”
Further studies are needed to corroborate these findings with rigorous cardiac imaging studies, Tariq said.
The findings will be presented online at ASN Kidney Week 2021 November 4-7.
Various studies have showed that short-term exposure to PM10 was significantly associated with elevated systolic blood pressure in young adults, while long-term exposure to PM2.5, PM10 and nitrogen dioxide were associated with elevated systolic levels as well as diastolic level (the bottom number on a blood pressure reading).
Besides, with the ongoing Covid pandemic having airborne transmission, particulate matter in the air could act as a carrier to increase the spread of the virus.
Studies have shown that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 — dangerous tiny pollutants in the air — is associated with an 8 per cent increase in the Covid-19 severity and death rate.
Air pollution also weakens the immune system, compromising ability to fight off infection. Long-term exposure to chronically high PM2.5 levels weakens the ability of the lungs to clear off infections due to compromise in immunity, making general population more prone to acquire Covid-19.