Long-term exposure to polluted air may increase the risk of high blood pressure in teenagers, according to a new study. High blood pressure during childhood and adolescence is a risk factor for problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease in adulthood.
The research, recently published in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology by researchers at King’s College London examined eight studies involving 15,000 teenagers – children aged 12 and over. Five of these studies were conducted in Europe, while previous reviews included many studies conducted in China, where pollution levels are higher.
High blood pressure during childhood and adolescence is a risk factor for problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease in adulthood.
When blood pressure gets too high, it turns into hypertension and can cause heart attacks and strokes (strokes), according to Medical Xpress.
Exposure to polluted air, the factor that raises blood pressure in young people
The analysis found that some 12-year-olds and those slightly older had higher blood pressure when exposed long-term to fine particulate air pollution known as PM2.5 and PM10.
“We found significant associations in 12-year-olds between diastolic blood pressure – the part of blood pressure that rises most rapidly in children or adolescents – and long-term exposure to pollution. Reducing environmental pollution is a public health priority to protect our children’s future,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Seeromanie Harding, from King’s College London.
Particulate matter is often emitted by car exhaust, smoke or combustion in construction and manufacturing. Pollution is a structural determinant of health, and children living in disadvantaged areas are more exposed to high levels of pollution, according to experts.
Carrying out studies on children’s health in relation to the state of the environment, considered essential
The effect of breathing polluted air on heart disease and stroke in adults is well documented, but studies of children have shown inconclusive results. In this sense, Professor Seeromanie Harding believes that continuing studies on children’s health in relation to the state of the environment is a priority and worthy of attention.
“It is essential to have high-quality studies that include assessments by gender, socio-economic circumstances and weight to track children’s exposure to pollution and prevent a negative impact on their health,” said Professor Seeromanie Harding, from at King’s College London.
The study was recently published in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology.