New research suggests that chronic exposure to ambient ozone may raise the risk of atherosclerosis and harm arterial health.
Atherosclerosis is the result of fatty deposits — such as cholesterol, fat, or cellular waste — accumulating inside a person's arteries.
Over time, the buildup of plaque inside the blood vessels' walls thickens the arteries, which restricts the blood, nutrients, and oxygen that would normally reach the rest of the body.
Atherosclerosis can lead to more dangerous cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease or peripheral artery disease, as well as a heart attack or stroke.
While researchers do not yet know what triggers atherosclerosis, factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking are believed to cause much of the damage.
New research points the finger at another possible culprit: air pollution. Meng Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York, is the lead author of the study