Air Pollution and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Linked

by Jodee on June 3, 2010

You already know that exposure to air pollution is hazardous to your health, but did you know that it can be fatal? The results of an Australian study have found that breathing in dirty air can trigger sudden cardiac arrest in some people.

Heavily polluted air contains dust, soot and other materials that are inhaled into the lungs. These pollutants have been linked to various health issues, such as heart disease and clogged arteries.

People who are living with chronic health issues, especially those affecting the respiratory system, are at a higher risk for lung damage caused by exposure to air pollution. Even those individuals who have no prior history of heart or lung problems can have a heart attack or even experience sudden cardiac arrest after exposure to polluted air.

Australian researchers looked at records of over 8,400 people who had experienced sudden cardiac arrest in Melbourne in the time period between 2003-2006. They compared the number of incidents with the air quality at the time. At times when the air quality was poor, the risk of sudden cardiac arrest increased.

Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. During a heart attack, the irregular heart rhythms can cause the heart to stop beating entirely. In some cases, the heart rate slows and eventually stops. This condition is called bradycardia.

Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

The chance of experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest is quite low. The chance of it happening are approximately 1 in 2,000.

When Cardiac Arrest Occurs

When a person’s heart stops beating, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number to get prompt medical attention. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation¬†(CPR) can be used to keep blood, and much-needed oxygen, circulating through the victim’s body until help arrives.

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