Heart attacks and asthma triggered by bad air days

Henrietta Strickland
October 21, 2019

It will bring together government ministers, businesses, the head of NHS England, mayors and political leaders from across the United Kingdom and the world alongside the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom and the former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres. Outdated estimates have shown the prolonged-term affect of air pollution motive as a lot as 36,000 deaths yearly.

Experts at King's College London found that significantly higher numbers of hospital admissions for these three health conditions occur when poor air levels spike. Only Derby did not see an increase in heart attacks on high pollution days.

Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: "Toxic air is a scourge on the nation's health and this study shines a light on the devastating effects it can have on people with asthma, causing hundreds to be seriously ill and need hospital treatment".

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said that it was clear that the climate emergency was in fact also a health emergency and that it means that the NHS needs to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.

"Given that these avoidable deaths are happening now - not in 2025 or 2050 - together we must act now".

The figures were published ahead of the International Clean Air Summit in London on Wednesday.

Nottingham City Council Spokesman for Energy and Environment, Councilor Sally Longford said: "Air pollution is a problem in all cities of this country and in the world". That is an individual tragedy for each of them, and collectively a huge burden on our NHS.

Researchers studied Defra's AURN monitoring stations during 2015, 2016 and 2017 to analyse days in England's 9 largest cities where particulate matter levels were both high and low - and then looked at NHS figures on out-of-hospital heart attacks as well as hospitalisations for strokes and asthma.

"However, health studies show clear links to a much wider range of health effects". This project provides short statements of fact, backed up by supporting evidence.

The risk was greatest in London, where high pollution days cause an extra 87 cardiac arrests and 144 more strokes, as well as 74 children and 33 adults being treated in hospital for asthma attacks.

The new figures show the immediate, short-term impact of air pollution on the public.

It was found in days of high pollution - days when pollutant levels were in the upper half of the annual interval - there were on average another 124 cardiac arrests.

Higher air pollution days in Southampton are responsible for 2 more out of hospital cardiac arrests, and 14 children or adults being hospitalised for asthma or strokes.

These cities saw an uptick of between two and 14 extra hospitalisations for stroke, and up to 14 extra admissions for asthma.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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