Air pollution affects 90% of the world's population and has caused 9 million deaths in 2015, becoming the most important cause of premature deaths in the world. Exposure to fine particulate matter, a major component of urban air pollution, has been associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk and associated mortality. Impact of fine particles on the cardiovascular system includes inflammation, activation of prothrombotic pathways, oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction and remodeling, and neurological dysfunction. Genetic and epigenetic factors might also increase the susceptibility to air pollution. Consequently, epidemiologic studies have identified correlations between air particulate matter concentrations and acute coronary events, ischemic cardiomyopathy, acute heart failure, and stroke. Interestingly, these effects are present even for fine particulate matter concentrations below current US and EU regulatory standards, and seems to be more harmful in the most fragile population such as low-income or elderly subjects, or patients with previous cardiovascular disease. This review aims to summarize recent data on the pathophysiology and epidemiology of cardiovascular disease after particulate matter exposure. It will also discuss potential strategies to reduce the impact of air pollution on current and future populations' health.
Keywords: Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology/*etiology/*prevention & control; Coronary artery disease; Heart failure; Particulate matter/toxicity; Stroke.
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