Exposure to air pollution can cause stroke, says neurologist

High levels of air pollution severely affect the atmosphere, and it has also got the association with a severe case of stroke, as people exposed to pollution constantly have higher chances of suffering from a stroke.

High levels of air pollution severely affect the atmosphere, and it has also got an association with a severe case of stroke. People exposed to pollution constantly have higher chances of suffering from a stroke, reveals a global study.

Earlier, it was believed that extreme exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of heart disease. However, it has equal potential to deteriorate internal organs, including the lining of veins and arteries, said experts.

"In the current scenario, the situation is getting worse. Many young patients in the 30-40 age groups suffer from a stroke. We get around 2-3 patients almost every month. The number of young stroke patients has almost doubled as compared to last few years. Studies suggest major risk factors include souring air pollution," said Praveen Gupta, Director-Neurologist from the Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

Researchers have found that there was an extremely high number of dead cells in the bloodstream due to extended exposure to the harmful environmental air. Polluted environment has caused numerous instances of inducing stroke, more vigorously amongst adults. The number is higher than it was previously thought to be.

According to the survey, nearly 15 million people around the world annually fall victims to stroke. Out of these many, an estimated six million people die due to severe stroke, and other five million are left with chronic disabilities such as loss of sight and speech, paralysis, and confusion and many other related serious health issues.

Scientists have even emphasized caution in the application of indoor equipment like open stoves which could equally contribute to causing strokes.

"Women inhaling household fumes are at 40% higher risk of suffering a stroke, the reason being the carbon monoxide and particulate matter from burning solid fuels. They tend to reduce the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein). This, in turn, prevents the removal of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) from the body, leading to hardening of the arteries," said Jaideep Bansal, neurologist at Saroj Super Speciality Hospital.

Due to higher levels of LDL, or harmful fat in the body, there is higher risk of blood supply to the brain being blocked, thus causing a stroke.

The research found that beyond 90% of the global strokes which are directly associated with modifiable risk factors, indoor air pollution has surpassed them all. These modifiable risk factors are high blood pressure, low fresh fruits and whole grain, environmental air pollution, high BMI and smoking. Also, in places where there is no proper ventilation, the majority of people face the risk of a stroke.

Nearly 4.3 million Indian people die annually from indoor air pollution, especially in the household. In fact, it was the cause of the highest mortality rate in the world, stated World Health Organisation.