Heart Disease and the Environment
Investigators both in the United States and abroad have shown relationships between short- and long- term exposure to particulate air pollution and the increased risk of acute myocardial infarction, referred to as heart attack, and other forms of ischemic heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease).
A number of studies have reported associations between air pollution and hospital stays for heart attacks and other forms of heart disease. For example, researchers have demonstrated increases in heart attack hospital stay rates in relation to the levels of fine particles in the air (PM2.5). This relationship is observed particularly in sensitive groups such as the elderly, patients with pre-existing heart disease, survivors of a heart attack, or people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The level of environmental risk for heart attacks depends on several factors:
- the amount of pollution in the air,
- a person's exposure to the air pollution, and
- overall health.
Read more about risk factors for heart disease.
A heart attack can happen to anyone. Learning which risk factors apply to you can help you take steps to eliminate or reduce your risks.Top of Page