|English: The internal carotid and vertebral arteries. Right side. Some of the branches labeled. Español: Arterias carótida interna y vertebral. Lado derecho. Algunas de las ramas están señaladas. Polski: Przebieg tętnicy szyjnej zewnętrznej z kolejnymi odgałęzieniami. Русский: Артерии шеи. Вид справа. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Also discussed here: Pollution levels linked to stroke-related narrowing of arteries (ScienceDaily. Mar. 16, 2015)
Today we review research into the risk of strokes arising from particulate matter narrowing arteries leading to the heart. Results indicated a significant link between those living in areas with high levels of PM2.5 and this arterial narrowing which may be due to interaction between the particulates and the cholesterol in the blood leading to inflammation and a greater likelihood of blood clots forming.
“people living in zip codes with the highest average levels of fine-particulate-matter pollution were significantly more likely to show signs of narrowing (stenosis) in their internal carotid arteries, compared to those living in zip codes with the lowest pollution levels”
"PM 2.5 pollutants.. are particulates with diameters less than 2.5 millionths of a meter. They are mostly by-products of combustion engines and burning wood”
"We spend a lot of time thinking about traditional risk factors for stroke such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking -- but our data underscore the possibility that everyday air pollution may also pose a significant stroke risk,"
"Most of the studies in this area have focused on the heart and the coronary arteries; no one has really looked at other parts of the vascular system, in particular the carotid arteries,"
“Strokes often result when accumulated plaque breaks off from a narrowed section of an internal carotid artery and blocks smaller vessels in the brain.”
“air pollution contributes to vascular disease. …may do so in part by causing adverse chemical changes to cholesterol in the blood, by promoting inflammation, and by making blood platelets more likely to form clots.