It is no secret that pollution makes a detrimental impact on
health, but a new study has now linked pollution to an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis occurs when the blood becomes thick
and begins to form a clot, usually in the veins of the lower leg and thigh. These
clots can then travel through the blood stream to different organs and prevent
blood behind the clot from reaching the organ. When this occurs in the lungs
for instance, it is known as a pulmonary embolism and can also result in a
heart attack or stroke.
The study examined 870 people diagnosed with DVT over the decade
spanning 1995 to 2005; looking at their particulate air pollution exposure the
year before they were diagnosed. These findings were compares with just over
1200 people who had not been diagnosed with DVT. The results were shocking.
The researchers found that individuals with DVT tended to
have a higher exposure to particulate air pollution than controls. To be more
specific, they found that for every 10 micrograms per square meter increase,
the risk of developing DVT went up by 70 percent. Men were more likely than
women to suffer from exposure to polluted air.
Experts estimate today that particulate matter is the 13th
ranked cause of death world wide, totaling about 800,000 thousand deaths per
year. We must do something to combat this number, and we must do it soon.