Air pollution is a global issue that affects everyone, but a new study has found that the risks of cardiovascular disease are greater in females than in males. The study examined the impacts of breathing diesel exhaust fumes and found that females suffered more health problems than males, including an increased risk of heart disease and death. This information is important for everyone to know, as it shows just how serious air pollution can be. We all need to do our part to help reduce air pollution levels around the world.
The study included ten volunteers, five female and five male, who were all healthy non-smokers. All participants spent four hours breathing air containing diesel exhaust fumes at three different concentrations: 20, 50, and 150 micrograms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic meter—with a four-week break between each exposure.
All participants donated blood samples 24 hours after each exposure. Researchers
made a detailed analysis of the volunteers’ blood plasma. Using an analysis technology called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, researchers looked for changes in proteins in the blood following exposure to diesel exhaust.
When comparing the plasma samples, researchers found levels of 90 proteins that were distinctly different between the male and female volunteers following exposure to diesel exhaust. The proteins that differed among females and males were some that have previously been found to play a role in inflammation, blood clotting, damage repair, cardiovascular disease, and the immune system. Among these changes, more were found in women than in men.
These findings offer an essential step in understanding the risk of air pollution, as respiratory diseases such as asthma are known to affect females and males differently. Previous studies have found that females are more likely to suffer severe asthma that does not respond to treatments. Therefore, more research is needed to learn more about air pollution and what it means for preventing, diagnosing, and treating respiratory disease.
Professor Zorana Andersen from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said: “We know that exposure to air pollution, especially diesel exhaust, is a major risk factor in diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There is very little we can do as individuals to avoid breathing polluted air, so we need governments to set and enforce limits on air pollutants.
We also need to understand how and why air pollution contributes to poor health. This study offers some important insight into how the body reacts to diesel exhaust and how that may differ between females and males.”
Reducing the Risks
In a time when climate change and air pollution are causing more health problems than ever, reducing the risk of illness and disease is vital. One of the best ways to stay healthy is by getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients vital to the body.
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