In a new study of people with diabetes, blood pressure rose in rough lockstep with short-term increases in soot and other microscopic air pollutant particles. Such transient increases in blood pressure can place the health of the heart, arteries, brain and kidneys at risk, particularly in people with chronic disease.
In contrast, when ozone levels climbed, blood pressure tended to fall among these people, independent of particulate levels. "And that was certainly not what we expected," notes study coauthor Barbara Hoffmann of the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Temperature also had an independent effect: A five-day average increase of 11.5 degrees Celsius, for instance, was associated with a small drop in blood pressure, Hoffmann and her colleagues report online October 21 in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.