Urban life raises blood pressure

Urban life raises blood pressure

Researchers in Germany have based their findings on an analysis of used data from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, an ongoing population-based cohort study of 5,000 individuals that focuses on the development of heart disease.

“Our results show that living in areas with higher levels of particle air pollution is associated with higher blood pressure,” said lead researcher Barbara Hoffman at the University of Duisburg.

For blood pressure measurement, they used an automated oscillometric device. They found that average arterial blood pressure rose by 1.7 mmHg for an increase of 2.4 µg/m³ in the exposure level to fine particulate matter which mostly originates from combustion sources in urban areas.

“Both, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, are higher in people who live in more polluted areas, even if we take important factors that also influence blood pressure like age, gender, smoking, etc. into account. Blood pressure increases were stronger in women than in men,” said Hoffman.

High blood pressure increases the risk for atherosclerosis which leads to cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes, say the researchers.