Air pollution exposure linked to enlarged hearts

Healthy people exposed to even low levels of air pollution over a handful of years developed enlarged heart chambers, a common precursor to heart failure, a new study indicates.

While previous research has established a firm link between air pollution and higher risks of heart disease and heart-related death, the U.K.-based study published Aug. 3 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation provides clues about how such damage gets started.

“What we found is that if you were well exposed to air pollution even at relatively low levels, we saw a larger size of the heart-pumping chamber. These are the types of changes we see in people who are developing heart failure,” said Dr. Nay Aung, a cardiologist and the lead author of the report.

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