The Connection Between Air Pollution and High Blood Pressure

high-blood-pressure-air-pollutionHigh blood pressure for many can be a mystery. If you don’t seem to fit the criteria for risk which would include carrying extra weight, smoking, being stressed out on a regular basis, or having a family history of high blood pressure, you may wonder, what gives?

Surprisingly we are coming to find that the source of your high blood pressure may just be external and environmental. Air pollution is on the rise in direct correlation with rising numbers of patients presenting with elevated blood pressure.

The presence of high blood pressure with no other medical factors at play leans toward long term exposure to toxins in the air. It can put you at risk not only for high BP but also for metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome can encompass high triglyceride levels, lack of good cholesterol HDL, elevated blood sugar levels and obesity.

Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term that includes a bunch of other health conditions which can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Studies have gathered and analyzed data of those living in both private homes as well as apartment complexes. Factors considered were how far individuals lived from major roads as well as from forest or green areas. Those living closer to major roads faired worse than those who resided more on the outskirts of towns near more trees and plants (which clean the air).

The most common air pollutants in the USA are:

Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) – Particulate matter can be made up of a variety of components including nitrates, sulfates, organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen or mold spores).

Ozone (O3) – Ground-level ozone is what makes up smog and is the result of the interaction between sunlight and emissions from cars and trucks.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) This is a highly reactive gas formed from the output of cars, industry, gas-heaters, and stoves, and cigarette smoke.

Carbon monoxide (CO) This colorless odorless gas forms when the carbon in fuels doesn’t burn completely. It is usually generated cars or industrial applications but can also come from wildfires, wood heaters, and smoking.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) Sulphur dioxide is highly reactive gas with a stinky rotten egg-like smell. It is formed by fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other industrial facilities. It also is found deep in the ground in Florida and is why you have to use a good water filter. Without it, your home’s water may smell like old eggs.

Glyphosate / Brevetoxin / Cyanotoxin – these elements have more recently come into play in Florida. Glyphosate and other chemicals in RoundUp and other lawn herbicides and pesticides are highly toxic and can cause high blood pressure as well as a ton of other health issues including cancer. Brevetoxins become present in the air when Red Tide is present. Though primarily a respiratory irritant, it can raise your BP too. Cyanotoxins are released from the blue-green algae. Again these also may influence your body to work harder creating a falsely elevated blood pressure.

If you have unexplained high blood pressure we would love to work with you. Tampa Cardiovascular Associates can help you keep your cardiovascular system in the very best health possible. Give us a call today at 813-975-2800 to schedule a consultation. www.tampacardio.com.

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