According to the National Health Service (NHS), atrial fibrillation is a disorder that describes when aberrant electrical impulses start firing suddenly in the atria. This leads to an irregular or rapid heart beat, which increases the likelihood that the heart could experience serious difficulties in the future. A new study has issued a warning that air pollution may be one of the numerous causes of the illness, which produces an erratic heartbeat in individuals who are otherwise healthy.
The findings, according to Fan He, PhD, an instructor in public health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, noted that they underline the need for more stringent control of air quality.
He issued the following warning: “While abnormal heart rhythms are generally uncommon, they can cause sudden cardiac death in teenagers and young adults who are otherwise healthy.”
“Our findings relating air pollution to irregular heart rhythms suggest that particulate matter may contribute to the risk of sudden cardiac death in children.” [Transcription] “Our findings linking air pollution to irregular heart rhythms.”
The findings of this study, which were recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, highlight the significance of determining modifiable risk factors of cardiac arrhythmia in adolescents with the goal of preventing unexpected deaths in adulthood.
The research was carried out on a group of 322 adolescents who did not suffer from any severe cardiovascular diseases and were deemed to have a low risk for experiencing abnormal heart rhythms.
The primary purpose of the research was to investigate the effects of environmental pollution on two distinct forms of abnormal cardiac rhythms.
Both conditions were characterized by premature contractions in the heart muscle, a phenomenon that medical professionals refer to as a “skipped heartbeat.”
Even though symptoms or damage are rarely caused by premature atrial contractions, these contractions are linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in the long term.
The findings of this study lend credence to earlier cautions issued by the American Health Association concerning the connection between poor air quality and cardiovascular disease.
According to estimates, there were over seven million premature deaths in 2017 that could be attributed to exposure to air pollution.
According to Mr. He, the lead author of the study, “our findings indicated that air pollution raises the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and sudden cardiac death even among healthy adolescents.”
In addition, he stated that “Protective precautions, such as wearing masks and avoiding vigorous physical activity, may be recommended on days that the particulate matter concentration is high, particularly during the early morning rush hours.”