Air Pollution Exposure

Evaluating Risk Factors: Air Pollution

Evaluating your likely current (and near future) state of health means taking into account the risk factors — such as air pollution exposure — that affect you.   Our medical diagnosis tool, The Analyst™, identifies major risk factors by asking the right questions.

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In the Environmental Risk Factors section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about air pollution exposure:
During your lifetime, what has been your approximate exposure to air pollution? Include exhaust fumes and smoke from fires or heavy industry, but not tobacco smoke.
Possible responses:
→ Little or no exposure e.g. grew up in countryside
→ Less than average e.g. lived in a small town
→ Average exposure / don't know
→ More than average e.g. lived in a city
→ High exposure - lived or worked in dense pollution

The Diagnostic Process

Based on your response to this question, which may indicate low air pollution exposure, air pollution exposure or high air pollution exposure, The Analyst™ will use differential diagnosis to consider possibilities such as:
Acute Bronchitis

If you smoke or are around damaging fumes (such as those in certain kinds of factories), you are more likely to get acute bronchitis and to have it longer because your bronchial tree is already damaged.

Asthma

The number of people with asthma and the death rate from this condition have been increasing rapidly since the late 1980s.  Environmental pollution may be one of the causes of this growing epidemic.  Work exposure to flour or cotton dust, animal fur, smoke, and a wide variety of chemicals has been linked to increased risk of asthma.  [Blanc PD, Eisner MD, Israel L, Yelin EH.  The association between occupation and asthma in general medical practice.  Chest 1999;115: pp.1259-64]

Diabetes Type II

Traffic fumes and cigarette smoke contain tiny, irritating particles that trigger widespread inflammation and disrupt the body's ability to burn calories for energy and control blood sugar levels.

A study of the medical records of 62,000 people in Ontario, Canada over a 14-year period found that the risk of developing diabetes rose by about 11% for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air of fine particles; many cities around the world have levels of 100-200.

A Swiss study found signs of significantly increased insulin resistance, hypertension, and waist-circumference in a sample of nearly 4,000 people living among dense pollution.

University of Michigan researchers in Beijing, China found during a two-year study that extreme air pollution adversely affects blood pressure (hypertension) and insulin resistance.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

A Swiss study found signs of significantly increased insulin resistance, hypertension, and waist-circumference in a sample of nearly 4,000 people living among dense pollution.

University of Michigan researchers in Beijing, China found during a two-year study that extreme air pollution adversely affects blood pressure (hypertension) and insulin resistance.

Lung Cancer

Over many years, the danger of breathing soot-filled air in polluted cities is comparable to the health risks associated with long-term exposure to second-hand smoke, according to a new study funded by the NIH and US EPA.  The study assessed the impact of particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, called fine particulate matter, in cities across the United States.  Data was gathered from 500,000 adults who were followed from 1982 to 1998 as part of an ongoing cancer study.  The study concluded that a 10mcg increase per cubic meter in fine particulate matter caused an 8% increase in the number of deaths from lung cancer.  [Environmental News Service March 6, 2002]

Problems Caused By Being Overweight

Traffic fumes and cigarette smoke contain tiny, irritating particles that trigger widespread inflammation and disrupt the body's ability to burn calories for energy and control blood sugar levels.

A Swiss study found signs of significantly increased insulin resistance, hypertension, and waist-circumference in a sample of nearly 4,000 people living among dense pollution.

A study at Columbia University found that children born to mothers living in highly polluted areas were 2.3 times more likely to be obese compared to those in cleaner areas.

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