Walking hours in the streets of polluted major capitals could cancel the benefits of this physical activity for more than 60 years, reports a british study published Wednesday in The Lancet . The researchers from Imperial College London (United Kingdom) show that a short exposure to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from typically diesel-powered vehicles affect the lungs and hearts of our elders
A new study reminds us that air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but also the number of premature deaths attributable to these diseases. In the world every year, 5.
.5 million people would succumb. In France, the pollution would kill more than 45 000 people per year. ” READ ALSO – The effects of air pollution in the five digits This work the british were conducted with 119 volunteers over 60 years of age, of which 40 were suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 39 of coronary heart disease.
So as not to distort the results, the participants agreed not to smoke during the 12 months of the study. Randomly, they were chosen to walk along the famous avenue Oxford Street or in the aisles of the biggest park of London, Hyde Park. During each walk, the air pollution was measured. Without surprise, the levels of pollutants are much higher on Oxford Street and Hyde Park. The pollution stiffens the artèresMarcher in this environment more pure has benefited all participants.
Their respiratory function has improved, and their arterial stiffness – a risk factor for cardiovascular decreased. The positive effects still present 26h after the walk.
On the other hand, walking on Oxford Street does not provide these benefits. Patients with COPD have been the most affected. After their 2-hour walk on the commercial street, they have reported a severe difficulty in breathing with cough and sputum and shortness of breath. Of symptoms caused by obstruction of the bronchi caused in large part by the soot and ultrafine particles. These molecules present in the exhaust gas have also had a harmful effect on healthy participants. However, little impact cardiovascular have been noted in subjects suffering from diseases of the coronary and under treatment. This counter-intuitive result may be related to the protective effect of statins or certain antihypertensives, which decrease the stiffness of the arteries, speculate the researchers. Patients not following the treatment have, in effect, been assigned as the patients with COPD or those in good health.
Continue to marcherCependant, there is no question of retreating at home. “These results should not be considered a barrier to walking in all of the old people who don’t practice this physical exercise.
But it is important that everyone practice a physical activity in an unpolluted environment,” says le Figaro professor Fan Chung of the national Institute of heart and lung Imperial College London.
It calls on the authorities to take timely measures to make the air more breathable. Even if the study does not mention the rest of the population, in particular young children, these tips apply to them as well. “We believe that the same effects can be observed in children. Studies will be needed,” says the researcher. The scientific literature has already demonstrated on several occasions that the pollution had a significant effect on small children, whose respiratory system is still in training and who often have a more intensive physical activity than adults. . .