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Study finds connection between air quality and heart risks

In discussing environmental matters, it can be easy not to truly see how problems like pollution can have a direct impact on a person's health. That smog in the air isn't just an eyesore; it's a potential toll on the well-being of a person's physical safety. More specifically, low air quality can cause people to suffer from heart irregularities.

Reuters Health reports on the findings of a study involving air quality and a heart issue called atrial fibrillation. Simply put, researchers found that high levels of air pollution led to a higher incidence of irregular heart rhythms among heart patients.

Though the group studied is a high-risk group, researchers suggest that their findings could reflect a more widespread health threat. The study followed heart patients who had devices implanted for their hearts. Those devices allowed researchers to track the irregular heart beats of the patients and compare those events to the quality of the air at the time. 

Where the study was conducted is a relatively clean area of the country, with the air quality level well below what is required by the Environmental Protection Agency. That point intensifies the concern among researchers. If heart patients' health was impacted in a relatively clean area, what is happening to those who live in states or cities with poorer air quality?

Experiments like this one provide support for the cause to protect the environment and create an environment that is safe for those who live off of it. Processes that put filth into our air and water also put the future of entire communities and people's health in danger.

Source: Reuters, "Air pollution can trigger heart arrhythmias: study," Kathryn Doyle, June 13, 2013

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