Almost 30 percent of strokes can be tied to air pollution, says a study published in 2016 in The Lancet Neurology. Another study, published last year in the journal Stroke, found that people who’d already had a stroke were at higher risk for a second stroke when they were exposed to high levels of air pollution.
“This is one risk factor that was previously unrecognized,” says American Heart Association spokesman Brian Silver, M.D. One theory is that pollution damages brain arteries, increasing the risk of blockage.
To protect yourself from the negative effects of air pollution, try to avoid being outside near busy roads. Car emissions are a main source of air pollution, Silver says. Check pollution levels at airnow.gov and stay inside when the Air Quality Index is 101 or higher.
At home, ban smoking, use exhaust fans in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area, and nix air fresheners, If you smoke, which is a stroke risk factor, quit and don’t let others smoke around you.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health November 2017
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