Cleaner air from pandemic lockdowns might be tied to fewer heart attacks

caption arrowCaption
These Simple Habits Will DrasticallyImprove Your Heart Health.In 2019, 659,041 people in the U.S.died of heart disease, the leading causeof death in American adults.Thankfully, some risk factors ofheart disease are preventable.In honor of February's American HeartMonth, here are 8 simple habits thatcan drastically improve your heart health. .1. Find out and keep track of yourblood pressure, lipid profile (good and bad cholesterolbreakdown) and your glucose levels. .2. You don’t have to completely cut outunhealthy foods, but it’s important tomake eating healthy a priority.3. Try and achieve at least 20 minutesof movement each day. .4. Make sure your body gets enough rest bysleeping a full night or taking naps when needed.5. Find a calming activity and focus onit for at least 10 to 15 minutes each day.6. If weight loss is a factor, set achievable goalsfor yourself that are realistic and healthy.7. If you smoke, do your absolute best to stop. Smokingcan increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.8. Don’t be afraid to take any necessary medicines,as genetics and health conditions make somepeople predisposed to cardiovascular issues

A new study suggests that when air pollution was low during stay-at-home lockdowns at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer ST-elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMI) occurred.

Researchers looked at the link between air pollution and STEMI in 29 states from Jan. 1, 2019 to Apr. 30, 2020, which included the COVID-19 lockdown period from roughly Mar. 11-30, 2019. There was little road traffic and almost no air travel taking place during the lockdown period, which resulted in a significant decrease in exhaust emissions and air pollution.

ExploreNew research highlights potential cause of Parkinson’s

On days when air pollution was lower, the number of STEMIs was also lower.

These findings were presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2021 Scientific Sessions by Sidney Aung, a fourth-year medical student at the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues.

ExplorePoor sleep linked to negative outlook on aging

“The pandemic-related shutdown was ‘a unique opportunity’ to investigate how a short period of cleaner air might be associated with fewer severe heart attacks”, senior author Gregory M. Marcus, MD, professor and associate chief of cardiology for research, University of California San Francisco, told Medscape in an email.

However, because this was an observational study, the researchers acknowledged that it cannot prove cause and effect and that other unknown factors could explain the decrease in MI.

Explore5 foods a brain expert says ‘weaken memory and focus’

Nonetheless, “these data suggest that a reduction in particulate matter with the shutdown may be at least partly responsible for the drop in heart attacks,” Marcus said.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

About the Author

Editors' Picks