A considerable amount of research is available that strongly links air pollution and lung disease. In previous studies scientists found links between low-level air pollution and COPD but the pollutants only exacerbated previously existing conditions. Research from Denmark adds to this conclusion.
This study from Denmark found a correlation between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and long-term exposure to extremely low levels of air pollution. The intriguing element to this study is the scope of the effect the pollution had on COPD. The scientists were able to demonstrate that the pollution was causing the onset of COPD and acting as a catalyst to progress it through stages.
For this study, the lead researcher Zorana Andersen and her colleagues, compared and analyzed air pollution data among 50,000-plus people aged 50 to 64. The people lived in Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark’s largest cities. After accounting for cigarette smoke and other factors related to COPD risk, they discovered a significant connection between COPD and long-term exposure to low levels of pollution, even among those who rarely went outdoors. The effect was strongest in people suffering from asthma and diabetes. Unexpectedly, the effect was slightly stronger in males, obese people and for people with pre-existing diabetes and asthma.
The researchers studied patients admitted to the hospital COPD. The research reported that there was likely an increase in COPD risk because mild to moderate COPD patients were not included in this study because they often do not require hospitalization.
In conclusion, Dr. Anderson stated, "When we adjusted for smoking status and other factors, the association remained significant, indicating long term pollution exposure is a true risk factor for developing COPD."
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