MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Breathing polluted air for even two hours can boost blood pressure, potentially raising the risk of cardiovascular disease in those exposed to smog, a new study suggests.
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Although the increase may not mean much for healthy people, "this small increase may actually be able to a trigger a heart attack or stroke," study author Dr. Robert D. Brook, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, said in a university news release.
In the study, which appears in a recent issue of Hypertension, researchers tested 83 people as they breathed levels of air pollution similar to those in an urban city near a roadway.
"We looked at their blood vessels and then their responses before and after breathing high levels of air pollution," study co-author Robert Bard, a University of Michigan clinic research coordinator, said in a news release.
The air pollution caused diastolic pressure -- the lower number in a blood pressure reading -- to rise within two hours. Blood vessels were impaired for as long as 24 hours.
SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, September 2009
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