Air pollution doesn't only affect your lungs—it may also affect your heart, reports Science Daily.

Dr. Savina Nodari and her team of researchers compared data from daily hospitalization records attributed to cardiac events between 2004 and 2007 in Brescia, Italy. The air pollution in the said city was attributed to fine and ultrafine particles that are collectively known as particulate matter (PM) 10, which was linked to heart issues. The researchers also discovered that there was a 3 percent increase in hospital admissions for every 10 microgram increase in PM10.

Air pollution also made those who have previously experienced heart problems or are advanced in age more susceptible to conditions such as acute coronary syndromes, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, ventricular arrhythmias, and heart failure.

"Previous studies support the hypothesis that air pollution may increase cardiovascular event rates because PM10 can induce processes that are bad for the heart including inflammation and coagulation," Dr. Nodari says.

Although air pollution has become an inescapable reality of our day-to-day lives, you may lessen its effects by using a clean handkerchief to cover your nose when walking or commuting along high-traffic thoroughfares. Do your best to quit smoking and avoid areas where cigarette smoke tends to linger. Lastly, take the time to go to a place where the air is cleaner to give you the environmental pick-me-up that you need.

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(Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs via Flickr Creative Commons)

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