Smog Tied to Raised Risk of Chronic Illness in Black
FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Air pollution may increase
the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in black
American women, a new study suggests.
Previous research has shown that air pollution boosts the
chances of acute cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart
attack, but it hasn't been known whether it also increases the
likelihood of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood
In this study, researchers examined the link between these
chronic illnesses and exposure to nitrogen oxides and particulate
matter, also known as particle pollution. Nitrogen oxides are
indicators of traffic-related air pollution.
The study included about 4,000 black women living in Los Angeles
who were followed from 1995 to 2005. During that time, 531 new
cases of hypertension and 183 new cases of diabetes were diagnosed
in the women, said study leader Patricia Coogan, an associate
professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public
Health and the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, and
For each increase of 12 parts per billion (ppb) in exposure to
nitrogen oxides, there was a 24 percent rise in the risk of
diabetes and an 11 percent rise in the risk of hypertension.
Exposure to particle pollution also appeared to increase the risk
for having both diseases, but the evidence for this was weaker than
for nitrogen oxides.
The study was released online Jan. 4 in advance of publication
in an upcoming print issue of the journal
Two previous studies suggested that traffic-related air
pollution increased the risk of diabetes, but those studies did not
include black Americans.
"A link between air pollution and the risks of diabetes and hypertension is of particular importance to African American women, because the incidence of both conditions is almost twice as high in African American women as in white women," Coogan said in a Boston Medical Center news release. She added that black Americans also may tend to live in more highly polluted areas than white Americans.
"In addition, even a modest effect of air pollutants on the risks of hypertension and diabetes will have significant public health impact due to the high incidence of these conditions and the ubiquity of exposure to air pollution," Coogan stated in the news release.
The American Lung Association has more about the
health effects of air pollution.
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