Posted on May 22, 2012, 6 a.m.
People who live in city centers are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery calcification, a common precursor to heart disease.
Air pollution is a common source of respiratory ailments, and Danish researchers suggest that it may be an underestimated factor in cardiovascular disease risk. Jess Lambrechtsen, from Svendborg Hospital (Denmark), and colleagues interviewed 1,225 men and women, ages 50 and 60 years, including 251 people who lived in the centers of major Danish cities. Air pollution levels were extracted from a national surveillance source. This showed that rates were approximately three times higher in city centers than other urban areas and seven times higher than in rural areas. The researchers found that coronary artery calcification was more common in people living in city centers, rather than urban or rural areas – in men (69% v 56%), women (42% v 30%), 50 year-olds (48% v 32%) and 60 year-olds (61% v 53%). When the researchers looked at the odds ratio, this showed that people living in city centers were 80% more likely to develop coronary artery calcification than those living in urban or rural areas. Further, men were more than three times as likely as women to develop coronary artery calcification, with a 220% higher odds risk. And, 60 year-olds were approximately twice as likely to develop coronary artery calcification as 50 year-olds (120% higher) as were smokers than non-smokers (90% higher) and people with diabetes when compared with those without diabetes (100% higher). The study authors conclude that: "Both conventional risk factors for [cardiovascular disease] and living in a city centre are independently associated with the presence of [coronary artery calcification] in asymptomatic middle-aged subjects.”
J. Lambrechtsen, O. Gerke, K. Egstrup, N. P. Sand, B. L. Norgaard, H. Petersen, H. Mickley, A. C. P. Diederichsen. “The relation between coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic subjects and both traditional risk factors and living in the city centre: a DanRisk substudy.” Journal of Internal Medicine, Volume 271, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages: 444–450.