ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – Long-term exposure to air pollution is likely to increase the risk of heart disease, says a new study.

The findings show that air pollution accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can cause heart attacks.

People living in areas with more outdoor pollution have more deposits in their arteries than people living in less polluted areas, according to the study.

“The study provides important new information on how pollution affects the main biological process that leads to heart disease,” says lead author Joel Kaufman, the professor at the University of Washington.

The team conducted a 10-year epidemiological study of atherosclerosis and air pollution on more than 6,000 people from six US states.

Researchers repeatedly measured calcium deposits in the heart’s arteries by using CT scans.

They also assessed each person’s exposure to pollution based on home address.