Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Air Pollution as a Cause of Cardiovascular Disease
Air Pollution as a Cause of Cardiovascular Disease: Looking beyond Traditional Risk Factors
Coralynn S. Sack, MD
Dr. Sack is a fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Washington.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that air pollution is responsible for an estimated 7 million deaths per year worldwide.1 Although the link between respiratory illnesses and air pollution is well known, the majority of these deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease. Exposure to air pollution may be responsible for as much as 7% of nonfatal myocardial infarctions and 18% of sudden cardiac deaths.2 No safe thresholds have been estab-lished, and even present-day concentrations in the United States are associated with increased mortality.