The Surprising Thing Linked to High Blood Pressure

Recently the scientific community has been abuzz about blood pressure, one of the most powerful contributors to heart disease. Doctors are actively debating how low blood pressure should go in order to protect against heart attacks and stroke, and researchers are focusing on what people can do to keep their levels healthy.

Now, in a new study published in the journal Hypertension, scientists report on an unexpected connection to blood pressure: air pollution. The Chinese researchers, led by Yuanyuan Cai from Sun Yat-Sen University, analyzed all available studies involving air pollution and blood pressure and found that people exposed to high levels of pollutants, including ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, were more likely to have high blood pressure—readings above 140 mm Hg for the first number in the ratio—than those exposed to lower amounts of pollutants. Exposure to particulates, the tiny, hard-to-see particles of pollutants circulating the air, also contribute to higher blood pressures.

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