Air pollution due to particulate matter is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has shown that the number of premature cardiovascular deaths due particulate matter has risen significantly since 1990.
The study used data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019 to measure the impact of particulate matter on disability‐adjusted life‐years, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and deaths since 1990. Data was used from 204 countries around the world. The goal of the analysis was to determine the global burden of cardiovascular diseases that could be attributed to particulate matter from 1990 to 2019.
The results showed that the global burden of particulate matter on cardiovascular diseases has increased. In particular, the total number of premature cardiovascular deaths per year as well as the years of disability caused by particulate matter increased by 31% across the globe between 1990 and 2019. Higher socioeconomic conditions were linked to higher numbers of years lived with disability and lower numbers of years of life lost, while the opposite was true in lower socioeconomic conditions.
The authors of the study noted that particulate matter is a widespread environmental risk factor that affects people across the globe, so understanding its health impacts could help guide global policy decisions. Particulate matter consists of particles of various sizes that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat while also impacting lung and heart health. While particulate matter pollution can come from many sources, including vehicles, pollen, and dust, wildfire smoke has become a major source of widespread pollution in Canada and the Western United States in recent years. To avoid the negative health impacts of heavy smoke, stay inside with windows and doors shut and run either an air conditioner or an air purifier.