Beijing is engulfed in severe smog. (File photo: VCG)
A recent study has shown that long-term exposure to PM2.5, a major particle matter pollutant, increases the risk of stroke among Chinese adults.
Air pollution, especially the rising density of PM2.5, is a major global environmental and public health issue. Researchers from Fuwai Hospital under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences evaluated the association between long-term exposure to PM2.5 and stroke incidence based on data collected from more than 117,000 Chinese adults. The research was published online in the British Medical Journal.
The research team used satellite remote sensing technology to assess PM2.5 exposure for each subject during the period 2000-2015. The long-term average PM2.5 concentration at participants' residential addresses was 64.9 micrograms per cubic meter.
Research showed that compared with the population with low exposure to PM2.5 (less than 54.5 micrograms per cubic meter), the risk of stroke increases by 53 percent for the population living in an environment with PM2.5 concentration above 78.2 micrograms per cubic meter for an extended period.
The general risk of stroke rose by 13 percent with a long-term increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 concentration.
The research also discussed the pathogenic mechanism of air pollutants leading to different types of stroke.
Gu Dongfeng, the leading researcher, said the research provides new evidence that PM2.5 is an important risk factor for stroke development in China.
These findings could provide a reference for the policy-making on air pollution and stroke prevention, Gu said, adding that the team will continue investigating the chronic health effects of air pollution with a larger sample size.