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Thursday, June 5 was World Environment Day. The Word Health Organization (WHO) released an estimate on March 25, 2014 which says cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including strokes and ischemic heart disease are strongly linked to air pollution. Around 7 million people died (one in eight of total global deaths) due to air pollution exposure in 2012, while the vast majority of deaths was due to CVDs. This number is two times more than that of previous estimates. We can simply say that reducing air pollution could save millions from cardiovascular diseases.

As per the WHO’s news release, indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 while outdoor air pollution was linked to 3.7 million deaths. Whether indoor or outdoor air pollution, majority of deaths attributed to CVDs compared to those caused by respiratory diseases or cancer.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Outdoor Air Pollution-related Deaths

  • 40% – ischemic heart disease
  • 40% – stroke
  • 11% – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • 6% – lung cancer
  • 3% – acute lower respiratory infections in children

Indoor Air Pollution-related Deaths

  • 34% – stroke
  • 26% – ischemic heart disease
  • 22% – COPD
  • 12% – acute lower respiratory infections in children
  • 6% – lung cancer

CVD generally refers to the dysfunctional conditions of the heart, arteries, and veins which supply oxygen to the life-sustaining areas of the human body such as the brain, the heart itself, and other vital organs. Medication and surgery are the most sought after options for treating CVD. However, according to the CDC report, CVDs are considered as one of the top ten most expensive health conditions to U.S. employers and this is mainly because of the expensive surgical procedures (angiograms, bypass surgery, and angioplasty) conducted as a part of CVD treatment.

Cardiovascular procedures are billable but require comprehensive knowledge in cardiovascular coding and vascular surgery coding. Medical coding for this specialty can prove challenging in which case a professional medical billing service will prove useful.

Most studies on cardiovascular conditions recommend seeking a second or even third opinion before proceeding to surgery. As the WHO official said, cleaning up the air that we breathe will help prevent non-communicable diseases and reduce disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly. In its news release, WHO made it clear that it will release indoor air quality guidelines on household fuel combustion later this year apart from country data regarding outdoor and indoor air pollution exposures and related mortality, along with an update of air quality measurements in around 1600 cities from all regions of the world.