Children most exposed to air pollution are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (HTA) according to a new study.
- Hypertension can be detected during a consultation with the general practitioner, using a tensiometer.
- A normal blood pressure is 120/80 and we speak of high blood pressure when these figures exceed 149/90 in the doctor’s office and 135/85 at home.
While COP27, the international climate conference, ended on the night of Saturday November 19 to Sunday November 20 in Egypt, a new study still underlines the risks linked to air pollution and particulate emissions. fine.
Hypertension affects the children most exposed to air pollution
The work, published in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology, show that the exposure of children to air pollution increases their risk of suffering from arterial hypertension (HTA). This chronic disease is very common in France since it affects one in three adults, according to I’National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). This one can be defined as abnormally high blood pressure in blood vessels.
To achieve their results, the researchers analyzed eight studies on the exposure to air pollution of approximately 15,000 children aged 10 to 19 years. It was mainly about PM2.5 fine particles – with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (µm) mainly present in car exhaust gases – and PM10, diameter less than 10 µm and present along the roads.
Thus, the researchers observed that 12-year-old children exposed to higher levels of PM2.5 and PM10, over the long term, that is to say a year or more, had significantly higher blood pressure. They believe this can lead to hypertension in adulthood, with a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Indeed, hypertension is the first preventable cause of stroke according to INSEE.
Overweight children more at risk of hypertension
But some children are more at risk than others, especially those who are overweight and/or obese. According to the scientists’ results, they had blood pressure twice as high, with equal exposure to pollutants, as children of normal weight.
“Children are more exposed to pollution as they spend more time outdoors playing football or other sports, explains Seeromanie Harding, lead author of this study, to the DailyMail. This is worrying because they are more vulnerable to pollution and the changes it can bring to their blood pressure as they grow. These findings are concerning because they mean children in polluted areas are more likely to develop high blood pressure later in life, increasing their risk of heart problems and strokes.”.
Nevertheless, in this study, no link was found between blood pressure and short-term exposure to pollution. The researchers also point out that the work they relied on mainly measured air quality around homes, as children spend more time in school, which could therefore skew their results.
Nevertheless, they suggest some recommendations:Parents could perhaps encourage their children to walk on less busy and less polluted roads, while schools may need to consider speed limits [des voitures] and tree planting to protect playgrounds from pollutionsays Seeromanie Harding. It is vital that more research is done on this and that we take action to protect children”.