Air Pollution and Cardiometabolic Disease: An Update and Call for Clinical Trials

Am J Hypertens. 2017 Dec 8;31(1):1-10. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpx109.


Fine particulate matter <2.5 µm (PM2.5) air pollution is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality. The largest portion of deaths is now known to be due to cardiovascular disorders. Several air pollutants can trigger acute events (e.g., myocardial infarctions, strokes, heart failure). However, mounting evidence additionally supports that longer-term exposures pose a greater magnified risk to cardiovascular health. One explanation may be that PM2.5 has proven capable of promoting the development of chronic cardiometabolic conditions including atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Here, we provide an updated overview of recent major studies regarding the impact of PM2.5 on cardiometabolic health and outline key remaining scientific questions. We discuss the relevance of emerging trials evaluating personal-level strategies (e.g., facemasks) to prevent the harmful effects of PM2.5, and close with a call for large-scale outcome trials to allow for the promulgation of formal evidence-base recommendations regarding their appropriate usage in the global battle against air pollution.

Keywords: blood pressure; cardiovascular; diabetes mellitus; hypertension; morbidity; pollutants; prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Particulate Matter


  • Particulate Matter