Regular exposure to air pollution will worsen your health outcomes if you have a stroke, new evidence has identified.

A study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology has found that air pollution increases an individual’s risk of having a stroke and developing heart complications.

In addition, they discovered that people who live in highly polluted areas are more likely to die if they have a stroke compared to those who are from more rural areas.

Senior author Dr Hualiang Lin said: “We found that high levels of air pollution were associated with increased risks of transitions from being healthy to a first stroke, cardiovascular events after stroke and death, but with a stronger effect on the transition from being healthy to having a stroke.

“These results indicate that understanding and reducing the effects of air pollutants on different transition stages in stroke will be beneficial in managing people’s health and preventing the occurrence and progression of stroke.”

During the study, the team examined the health outcomes of more than 310,000 adults to assess whether air pollution affected their wellbeing.

They found that the participants who live in highly polluted areas were more at risk of having a stroke or developing post-stroke heart disease.

According to the results, the participants who went on to have a stroke were regularly exposed to 10.03 µg/m3 of fine particulate matter, whereas those who did not have a stroke had an average exposure of 9.97 µg/m3.

Additionally, the findings have detected a link between nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide with an escalated risk of stroke.

Dr Lin said: “More research is needed, but it’s possible that decreasing exposure to heavy levels of air pollution could play a role in reducing the progression of stroke.

“People can reduce their exposure by staying indoors on heavy pollution days, reducing their outdoor exercise, wearing masks to filter out particulate matter and using air purifiers.”

The study has been published in the online issue of Neurology.

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