"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Vehicle air filtration can protect against blood pressure spikes

November 30, 2023 – Breathing unfiltered air while commuting during rush hour will be as damaging to your health as a high-sodium food plan, latest research shows, highlighting one other on a regular basis danger of air pollution.

In one study, researchers on the University of Washington drove people through rush hour traffic in Seattle, exposing them to unfiltered air on some days and to air that entered the vehicle through an improved air filter on other trips. Their blood pressure was monitored throughout the trips and for twenty-four hours afterwards.

The average baseline blood pressure of study participants was 123/71 mm Hg. Blood pressure rose rapidly by a mean of greater than 4 mm Hg, peaked about an hour after the trip began, and remained high for twenty-four hours. According to a, the rise was just like the consequences of a high-salt food plan Summary the study published by the University of Washington.

“The body has complex systems that try to keep the blood pressure in the brain always the same. “It's a very complex, tightly regulated system, and it appears that somewhere in one of these mechanisms, traffic-related air pollution affects blood pressure,” researcher Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, a physician and professor of environmental and occupational medicine, said in an explanation.

The results were detailed in an article titled “Blood Pressure Effect of Traffic-Related Air Pollution: A Crossover Trial of In-Vehicle Filtration.” published this week within the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Sixteen people took part within the study, which was conducted from 2014 to 2016. Each person drove a vehicle on three different days and didn't know whether it was equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. The people within the study were 22 to 45 years old.

The effects of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution have already been linked to quite a few other health problems, including heart and vascular disease, asthma and lung cancer, in addition to a better risk of early death.

“We know that small increases in blood pressure like this are associated with significant increases in cardiovascular disease at the population level,” Kaufman said. “There is growing recognition that air pollution contributes to heart problems. The idea that air pollution on roads can have such a strong impact on blood pressure at relatively low levels is an important piece of the puzzle we are trying to solve.”

The researchers found that the scale of the pollutant particles filtered during their experiment was remarkable. Ultrafine particles, that are lower than 100 nanometers in size and too small to be seen, will not be subject to regulation.

“Ultrafine particles are the pollutants that were most effectively filtered in our experiment – ​​in other words, where levels are most dramatically high on the road and lowest in the filtered environment,” Kaufman said. “So the indication that ultrafine particles could be present is particularly important [for blood pressure]. More research is needed to actually prove this, but this study provides a very strong indication of what is going on.”

The study results suggest that filtering could protect people from the harmful effects of traffic-related air pollution on blood pressure, but a bigger study can be needed to validate their results, the authors write.