Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Guanajuato, Mexico - Cars, Blood Clots, Pollution

Studies in both humans and animals have shown that exposure to air pollution can affect heart rate, blood pressure, blood vessel function, blood clotting, and heart rate variability (a factor in developing heart rhythm disturbances), and speed the progression of atherosclerosis. -- Source

If you ask anyone, Mexican or Gabacho, what they think of the pollution problem in Guanajuato, a quick chuckle from the Mexican and a slap in the face from the Gabacho will likely be forthcoming.

To buttress their argument there will be a panoramic sweeping of their hand skyward and asking with a screech, "Do you see pollution in this lovely blue sky?"

Well, you won't see (not yet, but it's coming) an orange or brown haze floating over the city like you do in Leon or perhaps Mexico City.

What I am talking about are the dangerous particles from car exhaust that linger about waiting to infiltrate your children's lungs or your cardiovascular system to thicken your blood so that you develop massive blood clotting problems. Car exhaust will make your blood sticky causing clots!

The particles can drift for miles, and accumulate inside most buildings. Vehicles are the major source of the particles in urban air, particularly diesel engines.

During a period of high air pollution, people breathe in millions of these acidic particles which penetrate into the microscopic air sacs of the lungs. Scavenging white blood cells, known as macrophages, are "overwhelmed" by the particles. They release astream of chemicals that set off an inflammatory action in the lungs and increase the stickiness of the blood so it is more likely to clot.-- Source

To update you on my blood clots which were discovered in Feb. 2009, I ended up changing doctors. I wanted someone else with a more professional "feel" in helping me manage my blood clots and ongoing chronic health issues.

Speaking of the clots, they are fine and I am no longer in danger. They have dissolved. Good news, indeed.

However........and there is always a "however": The cause of the clots has been discovered by my new doctor. My blood, it would seem is too thick. It is thick like that of a heavy smoker. The doctor looked over the blood test results and the very first words that came out of her mouth was, "How much do you smoke?"

We had a hard time trying to convince her that not only have I never smoked, but that I was not breathing in Cindi's non-existent second hand smoke (She's never smoked). It must have taken the better part of about 15 minutes to convince her we don't smoke. And yet, the blood results show blood viscosity of someone who is a heavy smoker.


CAR EXHAUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the reasons we moved to Mexico was the chance to ditch the car and walk. I thought we would be healthier for it. GTO, when we moved here, was largely still a pedestrian town. Now, to our dismay, it seems car ownership has increased exponentially. Everyone drives and we are walking in the bluish-black clouds of exhaust their car belches forth like evil dragons.

In GTO only about 20% of the streets are accessible by car. And yet, more and more people are buying cars. I truly do not get why someone would want to engage in an activity which makes them fat, destroys their children's lungs by destroying the air, and is possibly one of the biggest contributors to the increase of obesity and heart attack.#

When we moved here the obesity rate was about 15% of the population. Now it is more than 50% ---- and this has been in a six year time period. (I got these stats from a doctor friend in Gto).

Because of the topography of this town, car exhaust does not escape very well at all. In fact, it remains at ground level for hours, soaks your clothing and hair, permeates your pet's fur, and can linger in houses and buildings for hours if not days. It is not the color of the exhaust that lingers, it is what you can't see--the particles...and that will kill you!

"In another study, Lung Chi Chen, of the New York University School of Medicine, reported research where he exposed one group of mice to second-hand cigarette smoke equivalent to passively smoking three or four cigarettes a day and a second group to the fine particles present in air pollution, in concentrations similar to a big city. He found that both particles and smoke produced around the same amount of change in the hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks."

Researchers estimate that one in every 50 heart attacks in London are triggered by air pollution.

Need I say more?

I don't know what we can do.

One solution is to move away from where we live now. Senselessly, cars come in and out of this Privada ( a private street) like it is a major highway. They will stop right in front of our windows, and our house is right on the street, and idle their cars until we starting walking in circles and talking to spots on the walls. There is a dentist's office and an insurance business on our street. Their clients will leave their cars idling in front of our windows while they go into these places and pay their bills or maybe they are exchanging tips on better oral hygiene and saving money on insurance premiums -- who can say?

Regardless, I am convinced that the survey/study conducted in Mexico City a few years ago applies to Guanajuato.

The major reason for car ownership in this city is NOT because they are needed. It is for status.

I will keep you informed............

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