Face masks can help protect those with coronary heart disease (CHD) from symptoms and health effects triggered by exposure to polluted air, a study from Beijing, China finds. Heart disease symptoms and blood pressure were both reduced when older men and women diagnosed with CHD wore the masks while walking in the city. The masks effectively filtered out almost all of the harmful fine and ultrafine particles released from cars and other traffic in the urban area.
The results show that individual actions – in this case, wearing a special, high-efficiency mask – can alleviate some health effects linked to more serious cardiovascular problems in those susceptible to urban air pollution. It also supports previous studies showing that breathing air pollution contributes to cardiovascular health effects.
The findings are most important for people in large, highly-polluted cities in developing countries where efforts to improve air quality are limited.
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