Connections Between Air Pollution, Climate Change & Cardiovascular Health


Globally, more people die from cardiovascular disease than any other cause. Climate change, through amplified environmental exposures, will promote and contribute to many non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease. Air pollution, too, is responsible for millions of deaths from cardiovascular disease each year. While they may appear independent, interchangeable relationships and bi-directional cause-effect arrows between climate change and air pollution can eventually lead to poor cardiovascular health. In this topical review we show that climate change and air pollution worsen each other leading to several ecosystem-mediated impacts. We highlight how increases in hot climates as a result of climate change have increased the risk of major air pollution events such as severe wildfires and dust storms. Additionally, we show how altered atmospheric chemistry and changing patterns of weather conditions can promote the formation and accumulation of air pollutants; a phenomenon known as the climate penalty. We demonstrate these amplified environmental exposures and their associations to adverse cardiovascular health outcomes. The community of health professionals, and cardiologists in particular, cannot afford to overlook the risks that climate change and air pollution bring to the public’s health.

Authors: Barrak Alahmad, Haitham Khraisha, Khalid Althalji, William Borchert, Fahd Al-Mulla, Petros Koutrakis
; Full Source: The Canadian journal of cardiology 2023 Apr 6;S0828-282X(23)00299-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2023.03.025.