Environmental factors significant contributor to heart disease
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the world’s leading cause of death. Individual lifestyle changes have traditionally been the emphasis of CVD prevention. Some environmental factors, such as pollution and climate change, do, however, play a substantial role in a person’s CVD risk.
Experts think that a greater knowledge of this relationship is critical to minimizing CVDs’ burden.
Researchers explain the influence of the environment on people’s risk of getting CVDs in a new review.
The study, which has been published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, also recommends mitigation techniques that could help lower the worldwide burden of cardiovascular disease 01 .
CVDs are the biggest cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 02 . Every year, they claim the lives of around 17.9 million individuals.
CVDs impact the heart and blood vessels. They raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, which are responsible for four out of every five deaths caused by CVDs.
According to the WHO, people are more prone to develop a CVD if they:
Smokers are less active, eat a diet heavy in salt and low in fruits and vegetables, and consume large amounts of alcohol.
Hypertension, high blood sugar levels, overweight, and obesity can all result from these activities. As a result, these disorders can raise the chance of a major CVD.
Reversing or eliminating these risk factors is a crucial method to reduce the chance of developing CVDs.
Environmental factors, on the other hand, are increasingly being recognized as a factor in the risk of having CVDs, according to studies.
Prof. Aruni Bhatnagar, a professor of medicine and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, spoke with signsymptom.com. Prof. Bhatnagar is a CVD expert.
Prof. Bhatnagar, who was not involved in the new review, stressed the need of considering environmental risk factors for CVDs.
“Because environmental variables cause 70–80 percent of CVD and diabetes cases, we can greatly reduce the risk of these diseases only if we identify and understand the environmental factors that cause them.”
“We have traditionally concentrated on reducing risk factors through behavior adjustment and lifestyle improvements,” Prof. Bhatnagar continued, “but these approaches have limited efficacy.”
“In addition, individuals cannot easily avoid exposure to many environmental elements, such as air pollution, noise, and constructed surroundings, on their own.” As a result, a greater social effort is needed to reduce environmental threats.”
Prof. Bhatnagar argued that “research on environmental causes of disease could thus aid in reorienting and focussing preventative efforts and making them more effective.”
Prof. Thomas Munzel , the study’s lead author and the director of cardiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University’s University Medical Center Mainz, spoke with MNT as well. He explained that this research is especially important because official guidance frequently ignores the impact of the environment on CVDs.
He emphasized the lack of mention of environmental factors in the 2019 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines on CVD prevention.
Prof. Munzel and colleagues further point out that environmental factors are not mentioned in the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013–2020 (03 ).
Environmental risk factors for CVDs are often overlooked by policymakers, according to Prof. Bhatnagar, because assessing them needs a multidisciplinary approach.
Prof. Bhatnagar explained, “Environmental risk factors are multifaceted and so difficult to research.” “The current medical establishment is mainly incapable of identifying and addressing these hazards.”
“Evaluating and assessing these risks, as well as developing interventions to mitigate them, necessitate multidisciplinary teams made up of environmental engineers, toxicologists, cardiologists, sociologist, policymakers, and, most importantly, community stakeholders teams that have been difficult to assemble and deploy,” according to the report by Prof. Bhatnagar.