Study: Air pollution ups hypertension risk in Indian women

Study: Air pollution ups hypertension risk in Indian women

Women who are exposed to high pollution levels in India are at significantly higher risk of suffering from hypertension, warn researchers. The research, published in the journal Epidemiology, studied 5,531 adults from 28 peri-urban villages near Hyderabad city.

"Women spend most of their time near their households in this study area - 83 per cent of their daily time as compared to 57 per cent for men - which could explain why we observe a stronger association in women than in men", said study author Ariadna Curto from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Spain.

For the study, the research team measured systolic and diastolic blood pressure of participants and estimated their annual residential exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon. The participants also answered a survey to determine socio-economic status, lifestyle and household characteristics, including the type of cooking fuel which they generally used (biomass or clean).

Notably, all participants were exposed to fine particulate matter levels above the 10 microgram limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Average exposure to PM2.5 in this study was 33 microgram/m3. Based on the blood pressure measurements, almost half of participants (46 per cent) were identified as hypertensive, with high proportions of participants with undiagnosed and untreated hypertension.

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