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American Heart Association raises concerns about growing threat compromising cardiovascular systems of children: 'Increases the incidence of congenital heart defects'

"It's up to all of us to take a stand for children's heart health — and the planet we all share."

"It's up to all of us to take a stand for children's heart health — and the planet we all share."

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Most of us want to do everything we can to keep our children healthy and give them a bright future. But there's a growing threat to our kids' well-being that many of us overlook: the impact of rising temperatures and pollution on their cardiovascular health.

What's happening?

A statement from the American Heart Association warns that increasing temperatures and exposure to pollutants and chemicals can seriously harm the cardiovascular health of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents.

Experts are sounding the alarm about how the complex interplay of environmental changes, maternal heat exposure, airborne pollutants, lead, and synthetic chemicals puts the heart health of the next generation at grave risk, according to Medical Xpress.

Why is pollution concerning?

Andrew Agbaje, an award-winning physician and professor of clinical epidemiology and child health, summed up pollution's life-threatening dangers best:

"Evidence suggests that climate change increases the incidence of congenital heart defects, particularly conotruncal and septal defects, largely explained by maternal heat exposure during pregnancy.

"Moreover, airborne particulate matter pollution may contribute to an increased incidence of Kawasaki disease and worsen the risk of congenital heart defects."

In addition to these environment-related risks, infants and children exposed to lead are at risk of high blood pressure and premature kidney disease.

Chemicals like bisphenols and phthalates, found in many household products, can also lead to high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels — major risk factors for heart disease.

What can I do to stop life-threatening pollution?

As individuals, we can take steps in our daily lives to reduce pollution and protect the environment.

Simple actions like conserving energy at home, driving less, and supporting clean energy can make a big impact. We can also avoid products with harmful chemicals and support companies and policies that prioritize environmental and public health.

On a broader scale, experts are calling for accelerated research into the links between the environment and heart health, increased awareness among healthcare professionals, and a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy.

International cooperation is also key, especially to protect children's health in developing nations where chemical and plastic production is skyrocketing.

By working together and making smart choices in our own lives, we can create a healthier future for the next generation. It's up to all of us to take a stand for children's heart health — and the planet we all share.

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