A growing number of people today suffer from health conditions which were once not as common. According to research on this matter, this may be due to a combination of different factors which can be drawn from a comparison of lifestyles right now with that of the past decades.
In doing so, changes and differences are apparent starting from the decrease in physical activity and an increased mental workload. The type of jobs and work today require much more brain power and time.
In addition, economic changes, social issues, and technological developments have also further contributed shifts in lifestyles. While some of the outcomes are beneficial, others are inherently egregious.
As mentioned before, health challenges have changed and are more complex as well as hard to control. For instance, hypertension is becoming more and more common. What used to primarily be a health issue of adults is now also seen in adolescents and young adults.
In consonance with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults suffers from high blood pressure. Therefore, there is a lot of research on the matter. Recently, a new study looks at how the risk of having hypertension may increase due to environmental factors.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences and Vytautas Magnus University. The findings of the study can be found in the journal Journal of Public Health.
Read the study here.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The studies held on high blood pressure and its causes show that there can be a number of reasons a person may suffer from the condition including stress, smoking habits, diet, and alcohol intake.
However, there are not many studies on how a person’s surroundings and home can play a role in the development of this condition. The new study looks at this very side of the argument and more particularly on air pollution.
Some of the research on pollution and high blood pressure gave different conclusions. The team of researchers in the new study took data from Kaunas in Lithuania and looked at two main things: an individual’s average exposure to air pollution on a daily basis and the location of his/her home.
In addition, the researchers paid close attention to any signs of risk factors which increase the chances of arterial hypertension such as high levels of triglyceride, a decrease in HDL or good cholesterol levels, increased blood sugar, and obesity.
More data was driven from three questionnaires taken from a total of 1,354 people who all resided near each other in the ten years of the study.
These questionnaires contained questions regarding smoking habits and alcohol intake, medications, and treatments, educations levels, and history of health.
Using the participants’ residential addresses, the researchers also observed the distance they lived from a comparatively greener area and their exposure to air pollution.
What Were the Results?
After looking at all the factors, the researchers found that exposure to air pollution for a prolonged time can increase triglyceride levels in the blood as well as lower the levels of HDL cholesterol in people. Both of these are the biggest risk factors in having high blood pressure.
Secondly, it was also noted that people who lived farther than 300 meters and 200 or fewer meters near a major road had higher chances of having high blood pressure. On the contrast, one positive finding of the study was people living in greener areas were at a lesser risk of hypertension.
Though the findings match and confirm the hypothesis of previous studies, further research is also required that looks at other factors such as income and socio-economic factors.