Air pollution is linked to heart disease

Health Care, Medicine, Social Health Community 144 Comments

1.    The Women’s Health Initiative Observational study database of more than 65,000 postmenopausal women without prior CVD evaluated the relation between a woman’s long term exposure to air pollutants and the risk for a first cardiovascular event 1. For each 10 µg/m3 increase in pollution concentration, there were significant increases in the risk of any cardiovascular event (hazard ratio 1.24), death from CVD (hazard ratio 1.76), and of cerebrovascular events (hazard ratio 1.35).

  1. Mortality data from nearly 450,000 patients in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II data base showed that PM2.5 (fine particulate matter ≤2.5 micrometers in diameter) 2 but not ozone concentration was significantly associated with the risk of death from cardiovascular causes (relative risk 1.2).
  2. Further support for the importance of air pollution comes from a study of death rates in Dublin, Ireland before and after a ban on coal sales that led to a 70 percent reduction in black smoke concentrations 3. Adjusted cardiovascular deaths fell by 10.3 percent in the six years after the ban.
  3. In addition to long-term risk, short-term exposure to air pollutants (both ozone and fine particulate matter) has been associated with acute coronary ischemic events 4,5.
  4. In a study of over 12,000 patients living in a defined geographic area, a short-term increase in fine ambient particulate matter positively correlated with an increase in acute ischemic coronary events 4,5.
  5. The air pollution: Carbon particulates in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays. Ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so holes in the ozone layer could be a pollution problem that winds up enhancing vitamin D levels.

Possible mechanisms by which fine particulate air pollution may increase the risk of CVD include

1.    An increase in mean resting arterial blood pressure through an increase in sympathetic tone and/or the modulation of basal systemic vascular tone

2.    An increase in the likelihood of intravascular thrombosis through transient increases in plasma viscosity and impaired endothelial dysfunction

3.       Initiation and promotion of atherosclerosis 6-8.


1.    Miller KA, Siscovick DS, Sheppard L, et al. Long-term exposure to air pollution and incidence of cardiovascular events in women. N Engl J Med 2007; 356:447.

2.    Jerrett M, Burnett RT, Pope CA 3rd, et al. Long-term ozone exposure and mortality. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1085.

3.    Clancy L, Goodman P, Sinclair H, Dockery DW. Effect of air-pollution control on death rates in Dublin, Ireland: an intervention study. Lancet 2002; 360:1210.

4.    Pope CA 3rd, Muhlestein JB, May HT, et al. Ischemic heart disease events triggered by short-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. Circulation 2006; 114:2443.

5.    Ruidavets JB, Cournot M, Cassadou S, et al. Ozone air pollution is associated with acute myocardial infarction. Circulation 2005; 111:563.

6.    Brook RD, Brook JR, Urch B, et al. Inhalation of fine particulate air pollution and ozone causes acute arterial vasoconstriction in healthy adults. Circulation 2002; 105:1534.

7.    Pekkanen J, Peters A, Hoek G, et al. Particulate air pollution and risk of ST-segment depression during repeated submaximal exercise tests among subjects with coronary heart disease: the Exposure and Risk Assessment for Fine and Ultrafine Particles in Ambient Air (ULTRA) study. Circulation 2002; 106:933.

8.       Sun Q, Hong X, Wold LE. Cardiovascular effects of ambient particulate air pollution exposure. Circulation 2010; 121:2755.

Go wish your Muslim friend Eid Mubarak

Health Care, Social Health Community 183 Comments

Once I was listening to a scholar who was trying to find out why Hindu and Muslims fight with each other.  He narrated that Muslims want their ‘Ali’ back from “Diwa-li” and Hindus want their ‘Rama’ back from “Rama-dan”.

Eid is observed in Islam twice in a year, once it is observed as Sevainyan Eid (Eid ul-Fitr) and the other as Bakra Eid (Eid-al-adha ).

Eid ul Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.  Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity,” while Fiá¹­r means “breaking (the fast)”. Ramadan is thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting.
Thirty days of Ramadan in Islam; nine days of Navratra in Hinduism and forty days of Easter in Christianity are spiritual practices observed by respective religions. These are days of mind, body and soul detoxification observed as per religion defined rituals. Broadly, they involve restraining the ten senses during the fast period. One restrains from negative thoughts cum actions and indulges in positive thoughts cum actions.

In Ramadan, one month continuous fast detoxifies the mind, body and soul and reenergizes the human being.

Eid ul Fitr is observed as general detoxification process of the mind, body and soul. Eid-al-adha on the other hand is based on observing “detached attachment” where a person leans to sacrifice (detachment) a goat after practiced attachment for few months.

On the day of Eid, people wear new clothes and also care for the poor and the needy. They also offer prayers and seek Allah help for forgiving their sins and make them pure and pious human beings.

In Ramadan, Muslims fast and increase their spiritual devotions, and recognize their spiritual powers. On Eid Muslims thank Allah for the gift of fasting, in which they avoid food and drink from dawn to dusk. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith, seeking its reward, shall have all their past sins forgiven.”

‘Fast’ is common between Navratre, Ramadan and Easter. It’s the power of fast (of all ten senses in the body) which takes one near to one’s consciousness and the God. Being in touch with the consciousness and the God is like reformatting once computer which removes all the temporary files and bad sectors (sins).

Ganesha, the Stress Management Guru

Health Care, Medicine, Social Health Community 544 Comments

If Lord Krishna was the first counselor who taught the principles of counseling, Lord Ganesha taught us the principles of stress management. We should worship Lord Ganesha and follow his principles whenever we face any difficulty or are stressed out.

The elephant head of Ganesha represents that when in difficulty, use your wisdom, intelligence and think differently. It can be equated to the Third Eye of Lord Shiva. Elephant is the most intelligent animal in the kingdom.  Here wisdom implies to thinking before speaking. Lord Buddha had also defined that one should not speak unless it is necessary, is based on truth and is kind.

The big elephant ears of Lord Ganesha signify listening to everybody (taking opinions) when in difficulty. Elephant ears are known to hear long distances.

Elephant can also see a long distance and in terms of mythology the elephant eyes of Ganesha represent acquiring the quality of foreseeing when in difficulty. The elephant mouth of Ganesha represents speaking less so that more time can be given to ears to listen

The big tummy of Ganesha represents retaining and digesting all information gathered by hearing to people in difficulty.

The trunk represents to use one’s power of discrimination to scrutinize gathered information. It also indicates to do both smaller and bigger things by oneself. Elephant trunk can pick up a needle as well as break a tree.

The broken and unbroken tooth of Ganesha represent being in balance both in loss and gain. One should not get upset if the task is not accomplished and also not get excited if the task is accomplished.

In times of difficulty, Ganesha also teaches us not to lose strength and control one’s attachments, desires and greed. The four arms of Ganesha represent strength. Ropes in two hands indicate attachments, Laddu or Sweet in one hand represent desires and mouse represents greed. Riding over the mouse indicates controlling one’s greed.

Ganesha is worshiped either when one’s task is not getting accomplished or when a new work is initiated. In both situations, these principles of Lord Ganesha need to be inculcated in one’s habits

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