How where you live increases your risk of deadly heart issues | The Sun

OZONE pollution could increase your risk of being hospitalised for heart attack, failure and stroke, a study claims.

Even levels of the pollutant below the WHO maximum safe guidelines were linked with the deadly conditions, Chinese researchers found.

It means living in countries like Italy, Spain and France, where ozone pollution regularly exceeds the limit of of 100 micrograms per cubic metre, could make you more likely to develop the issues.

Pollution in the UK, where levels were as low as 62 micrograms per cubic metre in urban areas in 2021, is unlikely to increase the risk.

But even small increases in ozone can boost the chances of going to hospital with the conditions, the team said.

Professor Shaowei Wu of Xi’an Jiaotong University said: “Ozone was responsible for an increasing proportion of admissions for cardiovascular disease as time progressed.

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“It is believed that climate change, by creating atmospheric conditions favouring ozone formation, will continue to raise concentrations in many parts of the world.” 

He added: “Our results indicate that older people are particularly vulnerable to the adverse cardiovascular effects of ozone.

“Worsening ozone pollution with climate change and the rapid ageing of the global population may produce even greater risks of cardiovascular disease in the future.”

Ozone pollution is formed when heat and light cause chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and methane.

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It is different to the ozone layer, which absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

Previous research has linked long-term exposure to heart disease, with the body thought to produce an immune response to the pollutant that then affects the bloodstream.

The latest research, published in the European Heart Journal, examined how pollution levels affected hospital admissions in 70 cities across China from 2015 to 2017.

Every 10 microgram per cubic metre increase in ozone pollution saw a 0.4 per cent increase risk for hospital admissions for stroke.

It also corresponded to 0.75 per cent more admissions for artery blockages.

Professor Wu said: “Although these increments look modest, it should be noted that ozone levels may surge to higher than microgram per cubic metre in summer.

“These increases in hospitalisations would be amplified by more than 20 times to over 8% for stroke and 15% for acute myocardial infarction.”

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