Rising global concern surrounds the escalating impact of particulate matter air pollution on premature cardiovascular diseases (CVD) mortality and disability, as revealed by a recent study. Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the research explored the association between particulate matter (PM) pollution and the risk of CVD death and disability. Drawing from data spanning 204 countries between 1990 and 2019, derived from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, the investigation delved into the evolving landscape of this environmental risk factor.
Previous studies had established the link between PM pollution and CVD death and disability, but uncertainties persisted regarding its global reach and changing patterns. The research aimed to address these gaps by analyzing the broader impact of PM pollution on cardiovascular health. The study’s senior author, Farshad Farzadfar, emphasized the need for a comprehensive global perspective, given that PM pollution affects populations worldwide.
The study’s findings illuminated a concerning trend. The cumulative toll of premature CVD deaths and years lived with CVD-related disability attributable to PM air pollution surged from 2.6 million in 1990 to 3.5 million in 2019, marking a 31% global escalation. However, the increase in fatalities was unevenly distributed, with a 43% surge among men compared to a 28.2% increase among women.
Between 1990 and 2019, while premature deaths linked to PM pollution witnessed a 36.7% reduction after adjusting for age, individuals were living longer with CVD-related disabilities. Interestingly, regions with higher socioeconomic conditions experienced fewer lost years of life due to cardiovascular disease linked to PM pollution. Nevertheless, these regions simultaneously recorded higher years lived with disability.
Examining gender-specific impacts, the study highlighted that the cardiovascular consequences of both ambient and household PM pollution differed between men and women. The research indicated that age-standardized CVD death and disability attributed to outdoor PM pollution had risen by 8.1% between 1990 and 2019. Conversely, CVD death and disability associated with household PM pollution, stemming from solid cooking fuels, exhibited a substantial decrease of 65.4% during the same period.