Print Edition - 2019-05-09  |  Health and Living

Arsenic linked to heart thickening

  • Heart health

May 9, 2019-

Drinking water that is contaminated with even moderate levels of arsenic may lead to harmful thickening of the heart’s main chamber walls, a new US study suggests.

Researchers who analysed arsenic levels from more than 1,000 adults under the age of 50 found the risk of heart thickening over the next roughly five years was significantly higher in those with the highest exposure to the toxin, according to the report published in Circulation. To take a closer look at the impact of arsenic on the heart, researchers turned to data from the Strong Heart Family Study, a long-term study of cardiovascular risk factors among Native Americans. The new report included 1,337 adults whose average age was just under 31 when their arsenic levels were measured. At the outset, none of the study participants had diabetes or heart disease.

The researchers evaluated the shape, size and function of the participants’ hearts using echocardiography. Arsenic exposure was evaluated in urine samples. It overall was found to be higher than in the general US population, but lower than what is found in Mexico and Bangladesh. After following participants for up to about seven years, the researchers found that those with higher levels of arsenic were more likely to have thickening of the left ventricle. Indeed, a two-fold higher level of arsenic was associated with a 47 percent increased risk of a participant having left ventricular thickening.

—Reuters

Published: 09-05-2019 10:39

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