Study Shows Drop in Premature Deaths Due to Particulate Matter Pollution, Rise in Years of Cardiovascular Disability

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Research shows a substantial difference between overall deaths of men and women at 43% and 28.2%, respectively, from cardiovascular disease associated with particulate matter.

Despite a drop in age-standardized premature deaths associated with particulate matter pollution between 1990 and 2019, a recent study found the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) due to particulate matter increased worldwide during this same period. The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed a 31% increase in the total number of premature deaths and years of cardiovascular disability combined.1,2

Image Credit: Thares2020 - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: Thares2020 - stock.adobe.com

Additionally, the study authors observed a substantial difference between overall deaths of men and women, at 43% and 28.2%, respectively.1,2 Although there was a 36.7% decrease in the age-standardized premature deaths from particulate matter pollution-associated CVD, more individuals were living longer with disabilities.2

“The declines in deaths may be considered positive news, as they indicate improvements in health care, air pollution control measures and access to treatment. However, the increase in disability-adjusted life years suggests that although fewer people were dying from cardiovascular disease, more people were living with disability,” Farshad Farzadfar, MD, MPH, DSc, a professor of medicine in the non-communicable diseases research center of the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, said in a statement.2

According to the study authors, air pollution is the fourth biggest risk factor for all-cause death rates and the second biggest risk factor for global disability-adjusted life-years.1 For this study, investigators sought to determine the worldwide impact of particulate matter pollution and how it has changed over time.2

The researchers examined data from the Global Burden of Disease study between 1990 and 2019 across 204 countries.1,2 Investigators analyzed the changes of years of life lost due to premature death, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life years during the study time period.2

Investigators noted that in 2019, there were approximately 3.5 million deaths due to CVD associated with particulate matter, of whom 56.5% were male.1 Additionally, there were approximately 8.9 million disability-adjusted life-years reported globally, of whom 40.6% were men.1 For the 2 subtypes investigated, ambient particulate matter and household air pollution from solid fuels had 2.5 million and 1.1 million CVD-associated deaths, respectively, according to the investigators.1

Additionally, the study authors reported that regions with higher socioeconomic conditions had the lowest rates of lost years of life due to CVD from particulate matter; however, these regions also had the highest number of years lived with disabilities. Investigators found that the reverse was true in lower socioeconomic regions.1

Furthermore, in the time range of the study, age-standardized CVD death and disability associated with outdoor particulate matter rose by 8.1% and decreased by 65.4% with household particulate matter pollution, which is produced by solid cooking fuels such as coal, charcoal, crop residue, dung, and wood.1

“The reason for the decrease in the burden of household air pollution from solid fuels might be better access and use of cleaner fuels, such as refined biomass, ethanol, liquefied petroleum gas, solar and electricity. Moreover, structural changes, such as improved cookstoves and built-in stoves, chimney hoods and better ventilation, might be effective in reducing pollution exposure to solid fuels. Finally, the effects of educational and behavioral interventions should be considered,” Farzadfar said in the statement. “The shifting pattern from household air pollution due to solid fuels to outdoor, ambient PM pollution has important public policy implications.”1

References

  1. Moradi M, Behnoush AH, Abbasi-Kangevari M, Moghaddam SS, et al. Particulate matter pollution remains a threat for cardiovascular health: findings from the global burden of disease 2019. J Am Heart Assoc. 2023;e029375. doi:10.1161/JAHA.123.029375
  2. Particulate air pollution a growing risk for premature CVD death and disability worldwide. News release. American Heart Association. August 9, 2023. Accessed August 9, 2023. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/particulate-air-pollution-a-growing-risk-for-premature-cvd-death-and-disability-worldwide?preview=b431
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