More heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks due to high air pollution

More heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks due to high air pollution

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Effects of air pollution on human health

On days with elevated levels of air pollution, hundreds of additional heart attacks, strokes, and acute asthma attacks are triggered in cities. This shows the dramatic impact of rising air pollution.

The latest investigation by King’s College London found that cases of heart attacks, strokes and acute asthma attacks are more common on days with particularly high air pollution.

Air pollution data in nine cities were evaluated

For their study, the researchers examined data from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. They found that an average of 124 additional heart attacks were found on days when the pollutant levels were in the upper half of the year. This number is based on the call data of ambulances, heart attacks of patients in hospitals were not considered. On days with high pollution levels, there was an average of 231 additional hospitalizations for strokes in the nine cities, and a further 193 children and adults were brought to the hospital for asthma treatment.

Measures to reduce air pollution are needed

“For some time now, the effects of air pollution on our health have been crucial to justifying measures to reduce air pollution, which are mainly focused on the effects on life expectancy. However, health studies show clear correlations with a much broader spectrum of health effects, ”reports Dr. Heather Walton of King’s College London in a press release. "This broader range of impacts on our health is further evidence that additional measures to reduce air pollution are urgently needed," added the doctor.

Long-term risks from air pollution

The polluted air in our cities not only leads to acute emergencies, but also to long-term negative effects on our health. Long-term risks associated with high concentrations of pollutants in the air include impaired lung growth and low birth weight and lung cancer. By reducing air pollution, we could partially significantly reduce these and other emerging risks, which would save many lives every year. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Higher air pollution days trigger cardiac arrests and hospitalizations, King's College London (accessed 10/21/2019), King's College London

Video: Prof. David Newby - Air Pollution and Heart Attacks (August 2022).