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Air Pollution and Elderly

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Clinical Handbook of Air Pollution-Related Diseases

Abstract

Epidemiological studies on the elderly population are generally difficult. When they take into account the entire old population, they are filled with confusing factors; when selecting sub-populations will improve efficiency but worsen the effectiveness. In addition, all difficulties (and limits) of arbitrary selection criteria for age ranges, settings, etc. must to be considered.

The literature on atmospheric pollution and the elderly has grown in recent years; from reporting the first results on individual age ranges as senile, it has come to studies specifically targeted at elderly populations for specific pathologies, in specific settings.

We examined the scientific papers and summarized the findings and conclusions, trying, whenever possible, not to address them generically to the elderly population, but respecting the limits set in the job setting. After some clarifications on common but not univocal word definitions such as fragility, susceptibility, vulnerability, etc., the text summarizes the effects of the health of the elderly in indoor and outdoor environments, and at the same time analyzes the acute effects and those in the long run. Finally, the effects of pollution on organs and systems are systematized: cardiocirculatory system, lung system and nervous system.

The exposure, therefore, follows the list of secondary organ pathologies of air pollution; the application of results (effectiveness) to population famously characterized by multimorbidity is left to the writer’s will (and to his suggestions) only in the final paragraph.

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Note

M. Simoni [2] cites two Latin American studies, which, although conducted in different times, show similar results:Saldiva PH, Pope CA, Schwartz J, Dockery DW, Lichtenfels AJ, Salge JM, Barone I, Bohm GM: Air pollution and mortality in elderly people: a time-series study in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Arch Environ Health 1995; 50:159–63.Romieu I, Gouveia N, Cifuentes LA, De Leon AP, Junger W, Vera J, STRAPPA V, Hurtado-Díaz M, Miranda-Soberanis V, Rojas-Bracho L, Carbajal-Arroyo L, Tzintzun-Cervantes G: Multicity study of air pollution and mortality in Latin America (the ESCALA study), Res Rep Health Eff Inst 2012;171:5–86.

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Sabatini, D. (2018). Air Pollution and Elderly. In: Capello, F., Gaddi, A. (eds) Clinical Handbook of Air Pollution-Related Diseases. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62731-1_11

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