When Breathing Causes Heart Attack and High Blood PressureResearch out of Italy recently has given scientists pause for thought … a pause in breathing, that is.

Looking at hospitalization records related to high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attack, scientists discovered that the essential act of breathing could actually cause those serious conditions.

In the study released out of Italy and presented at the Acute Cardiac Care Congress, scientists pointed the heart disease finger directly at air pollution as a key factor in high blood pressure, heart disease, and even heart attacks.

Looking at a standard of measurement called PM10 or particulate matter measuring 10 micrometers or less in diameter, the researchers compared rates of heart disease-related hospitalizations to the amount of pollution in the air, as evidenced by the air’s PM10 rating.

Various kinds of particulate matter constitute pollution in the air we breathe, and the biggest generators of it are factories and other types of industrial or vehicular pollution.

Scientists found that for every increase of 10 micrograms in the PM10 rating of air quality, there was a 3% increase in the number of casualties recorded in hospitals for heart disease and heart attacks.

In the European Union, the environmental standards for safety are to not exceed PM10 of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. In the US, though, it is three times higher, at 150 micrograms per cubic meter.

The environmental link points to clear evidence that what and how we breathe has a direct effect on our blood pressure health and helps to explain why high blood pressure affects a full quarter of the earth’s population, being more concentrated in areas that are more polluted.

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