Is smog innocuous? Air pollution and cardiovascular disease

Indian Heart J. 2017 Jul-Aug;69(4):425-429. doi: 10.1016/j.ihj.2017.07.016.


Air pollution is a significant environmental and health hazard. Earlier studies had examined the adverse health effects associated with short- and long-term exposure to particulate matter on respiratory disease. However, later studies demonstrated that was actually cardiovascular disease that accounted for majority of mortality. Furthermore, it was not gaseous pollutants like oxides of nitrate, sulfur, carbon mono-oxide or ozone but the particulate matter or PM, of fine or coarse size (PM2.5 and PM10) which was linearly associated with mortality; PM2.5 with long term and PM10 with short term. Several cardiovascular diseases are associated with pollution; acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, atherosclerosis and cardiac arrest. The ideal way to address this problem is by adhering to stringent environmental standards of pollutants but some individual steps like choosing to stay indoors (on high pollution days), reducing outdoor air permeation to inside, purifying indoor air using air filters, and also limiting outdoor physical activity near source of air pollution can help. Nutritional anti-oxidants like statins or Mediterranean diet, and aspirin have not been associated with reduced risk but specific nutritional agents like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower or brussels sprouts, fish oil supplement may help. Use of face-mask has been controversial but may be useful if particulate matter load is higher.

Keywords: Air pollution; Cardiovascular risk; Particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Smog / adverse effects*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends


  • Smog