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Extensive research has confirmed previously known links between short-term exposure to particulate matter and an increased risk of hospitalization and death from heart and lung disease, diabetes, and thromboembolism. But it also identified an increased risk of hospitalization for numerous conditions, ranging from sepsis to kidney failure.
These innovations are emphasized by Yaguang Wei, researcher at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and first author of the study: ” We discovered previously unknown links between pollution and common diseases among older people, such as alterations in fluid volumes and electrolyte concentrations, septicemia, anemia, urinary tract infections and renal failure, even when daily PM2.5 concentrations were lower than the levels indicated in air quality guidelines issued by the World Health Organization.”
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Often, people are unable to avoid exposure to air pollution, but they can still take some precautions.
Anyone, but especially those with health problems that can be exacerbated by air pollution, such as cardiovascular conditions, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), should inquire about local air quality levels and, on particularly critical days, follow the advice of experts, who suggest closing windows and avoiding outdoor exercise. “In addition,” it said in an editorial that presented the study by the U.S. researchers, “both patients and physicians should be aware of the impact that poor air quality can have on disease exacerbation in order to better understand and perhaps treat such flare-ups.
Source: Wei Y, Wang et al. Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter and hospital admission risks and costs in the Medicare population: time stratified, case crossover study. BMJ. 2019 Nov 27;367:l6258.

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