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FOR 50 years, I worked outside with machinery and, during the winter, I’d warm my hands around the exhaust of one of the big diesel tools we used.
A few years ago, a scan showed the left ventricle of my heart only worked at 40 per cent capacity and my heart rate was so slow, I had to have a pacemaker.
Read - Diesel - Fumes - Heart - Heart
I’ve since read that diesel fumes could have damaged my heart. Is that true? And am I right to push myself to exercise to help my heart? I’m 74 years old.
Don McCallum, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
Combustion - Diesel - Fuel - Soot - Particles
The combustion of diesel fuel produces soot, fine particles and gaseous contaminants, which are implicated in cancer, heart and lung damage, as well as impaired mental function.
It’s likely that these effects are due to some of these compounds being endocrine disruptors (in other words, they have damaging effects on hormone systems).
Others - Inflammation - Lungs - Heart - Organs
Others may cause inflammation in the lungs, heart and probably other organs — and some of the compounds are know to be directly carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.
As you’ve read, studies have shown that diesel pollution may damage the heart muscle — UK research presented at the European Society of Cardiology in 2017 found there was ‘strong evidence’ that diesel pollution in particular leads to heart attack and heart failure.
Research - Heart - Damage - Diesel - Pollution
Currently, there is insufficient research to say whether heart damage from diesel pollution is limited to specific parts of the heart, such as the area that acts as the pacemaker, or whether there is more widespread damage that impacts on the effectiveness of the heartbeat.
Research is complicated by the fact that heart disease is multifactorial — risk factors include smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity and alcohol consumption.
Damage - Factor - Diesel - Fumes - Reason
This makes it difficult to isolate the potential damage from an environmental factor such as diesel fumes as being the only reason...
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