According to previous research, air pollution may increase your risk of getting a stroke and a heart attack. TIME reports that scientists may have figured out exactly how pollutants could contribute to inflammation and blood clotting.

Working with 5,362 people between ages 45 and 84, researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and University of Washington
estimated air particulates around the participants’ homes, and took into account the flow of traffic in nearby streets, as well as any other causes of pollution within the vicinity. Blood vessel characteristics of the participants were measured before and three years after to see if there would be any changes.

The results showed that blood vessels thickened faster in participants who were exposed to higher levels of air particulates. The thickening of blood vessel is a sign of artery hardening or atherosclerosis, which may lead to deadly heart conditions and stroke.

Although it’s impossible to avoid air pollution, you can lessen its effects by avoiding things that you can control, such as smoking. Increase your resistance against the aforementioned health conditions by eating a low-cholesterol diet, getting ample rest, managing stress, and getting enough exercise.

(Photo by Keith Bacongco via Flickr Creative Commons)

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