As a new study has shown, air pollution is not just a certain threat to the environment and human health. Inhalation of such air has serious consequences – heart and lung diseases similar to those caused by long-term smoking.

This is stated in a new scientific article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers have found that inhaling "polluted air caused by congestion," namely carbon dioxide and particulate matter from brakes and tires, can lead to chronic high blood pressure.

The study also found that ultrafine particulate matter, a form of pollution associated with car traffic that is not currently regulated, is a growing concern among medical professionals.

"The human body has a complex set of systems that try to keep the blood pressure in your brain running at all times. This is a very complex, highly regulated organization. And inhaling polluted air, especially in traffic jams, affects blood pressure," says Joel D. Kaufman, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and author of the study.

Research during rush hour

Kaufman and his team wanted to understand how traffic-related air pollution could affect drivers' blood pressure during commutes.

Scientists conducted an experiment during which they drove for hours next to 16 participants aged 22 to 45 during the morning rush hour in the American city of Seattle.

Each trip consisted of a two-hour trip during peak hours, usually from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

What did doctors find?

According to the results of the experiment, exposure to polluted air peaked one hour after riding and on average increased diastolic blood pressure by 4.7 mm/Hg and systolic blood pressure by 4.5 mm/Hg. At the same time, after a day, the diastolic blood pressure was still at 3.8 mm/Hg. higher than baseline, while systolic was 1.1 mm/Hg.

"These results add more evidence that exposure to transport-related air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Robert D. Brooke, professor of medicine.

Recall that normal, that is, healthy blood pressure is systolic "upper" up to 120 mm Hg. Art., and diastolic, "lower" up to 70 mm Hg. Century.

At the same time, since 1999, the WHO has refuted the theory that the increase in blood pressure with age is normal and suggests that the optimal indicators for all ages are 130-110/70-80 mm Hg. Century.