Car fumes linked to artery disease

Car fumes linked to artery disease

Living close to major roads can cause residents artery problems and ultimately lead to kidney damage, a new study suggests.

US researchers tested 1,100 stroke patients and reported a link between kidney defects and living near busy routes. They believe reduced kidney function may indicate disease of the arteries in those who are consistently exposed to traffic pollution.

The team examined creatinine levels in the blood of stroke patients in hospitals in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Creatinine is produced by muscles but usually removed from the body by the kidneys. Levels of creatinine reveal the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and if this is low it suggests defective kidneys.

Half of those who took part in the study lived within 1km of heavy traffic, while the others had homes between 1km and 10km away. Abreakdown of the scientists' findings shows that those living the closest to traffic had the lowest eGFR and this was further reduced in those whose homes were 50m away from busy routes, with the kind of eGFR expected of people four years older.

The information allowed the team to work out that those living 50m away from busy roads are 4% more likely to die from cardiovascular problems and 1% more likely to die as a result of any cause.

Copyright Press Association 2013