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People with chronic heart conditions 'should avoid areas of heavy traffic'

Martin Rickett/PA Wire

By Jemma Crew, PA Health and Science Correspondent

People with chronic heart conditions should avoid areas of heavy traffic congestion and consider wearing face masks, new guidelines recommend.

Air pollution and environmental noise increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the European Society of Cardiology.

Their detrimental impact on people living with chronic coronary syndromes (CCS) has been highlighted in their updated guidelines for the first time.

The "Environmental Factors" section of the guidelines reads: "Air pollutants

are estimated to be one of the 10 leading risk factors for global mortality.

"Exposure to air pollution increases risk of MI (Myocardial infarction), as well as hospitalisation and death from heart failure, stroke, and arrhythmia.

"Patients with CCS should avoid heavily traffic-congested areas.

"Air purifiers with high-efficiency particulate air filters reduce indoor pollution, and wearing N95 respirator face masks in heavily polluted areas has been shown to be protective.

"Environmental noise also increases the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease).

"Policies and regulations that reduce air pollution and environmental noise should be supported, and patients should be advised about these risks."

The updated guidelines also advise patients to stop smoking, and eat a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and low in saturated fat and alcohol.

They should maintain a healthy body weight and be moderately active most days.

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