Living near green and wooded space reduces the risk of suffering a stroke

New research shows that people who live within 300 meters of green space have a 16% lower risk of having a stroke.

People who are surrounded by higher vegetation in their place of residence are protected from the occurrence of a stroke.

Dr. Carla Avellaneda, co-author of the study.

The results indicate that there is a clear relationship between the levels of pollutants in the atmosphere and the risk of suffering a stroke.

For every ten micrograms per cubic meter of nitrogen dioxide in the air, the risk increases by 4%, and every additional cubic microgram of soot in the air increases the risk by 5%. Both are related to automobile traffic.

These risks are generalized and are not affected by age, smoking, or socioeconomic factors.

On the other hand, having many green spaces near your home reduces the risk of stroke by up to 16%.

For the study, the team analyzed the exposure of 3.5 million people in Catalonia, Spain, to air pollutants. The collaboration, led by the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute and the Catalan Agency for Health Quality and Evaluation, used geographic references and designed models to measure exposure to nitrogen dioxide and to soot, using demographic data.

All of the people they analyzed were adults who had not had a stroke before the start of the study.

The researchers say that, in light of their findings published in the journal Environment International, recommendations on the levels of nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere considered ‘safe’ by the European Union should be tightened .

Living near green spaces is believed to help people exercise, reduce stress, and socialize with friends.

Despite the fact that the levels set by the European Union are respected, we are left with the paradox that there is always a health risk, such as the one we have identified in this study, in which there is a direct relationship between exposure to pollutants in our environment and the risk of suffering a stroke.

Dr. Rosa María Vivanco, lead author of the study.

More information: (English text).

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