Feb 23, 2024

Air Pollution Crisis: Harvard Study Urges Stricter Standards to Protect Senior Heart Health

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

“The timing of our study couldn’t be more critical, and its implications are profound,” said Dr. Yaguang Wei.

What impact can severe air pollution have on the health of senior citizens? This is what a recent study published in BMJ hopes to address as a team of researchers led by Harvard University investigated how over-exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for senior citizens could lead to hospitalizations for seven major cardiovascular disease (CVD) subtypes, including heart failure, ischemic heart disease, arrhythmia, cerebrovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and thoracic aortic aneurysms. This study holds the potential to help scientists, medical professionals, and the public better understand the long-term health risks for severe air pollution, especially with climate change effects continuing to increase worldwide.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 59,761,494 Medicare fee-for-service recipients 65 years of age and older between 2000 and 2016 and compared them to air pollution data during that same period. Each of the recipients were tracked every year until their first hospitalization for one of the seven major CVD subtypes, and the researchers produced a map based on the recipients’ ZIP codes. In the end, the researchers discovered the average exposure time from air pollution to a recipients’ first hospitalization was three years, in addition to determining their exposure to PM2.5 was above the acceptable threshold outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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