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2015-08-03

Smoke from Wildfires Linked to Heart Attacks

Here's some info for all those in Western Canada and the US, as they struggle to contain the ongoing wildfires. A newly published study shows exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter) was associated with an upswing in out-of-hospital heart attacks in men and ischemic heart disease (IHD) events in women.

The study shows the associations between cardiac arrest and IHD as a result of exposure to high levels of PM2.5 smoke for up to 2 days. The researchers also found that cardiac arrests and IHD disproportionately affected men and women who were 65 years old and older.

The American Heart Association characterizes PM2.5 as a risk factor that contributes to cardiovascular disease's mortality and morbidity.

The researchers say more work needs to be done to explain the differences of cardiovascular disease in men and women. Furthermore, "improvements in the understanding of these priority areas is needed so that effective and timely public-health strategies can be developed and implemented to reduce the burden of disease during wildfire events. This will have further implications for setting appropriate air-quality standards, enhancing healthcare infrastructure, and improving timely risk communication and health advice during wildfires."

...may also be something to consider when camping and being around a camp fire this summer.

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Source: Impact of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure during wildfires on cardiovascular health outcomes

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