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Air Pollution and Heart Disease: What’s the Connection?

Most people can easily discern a relationship between asthma and air pollution because it simply makes sense. People breathe in bad...

Most people can easily discern a relationship between asthma and air pollution because it simply makes sense. People breathe in bad, polluted air and the lungs get damaged. Simple. However, what many people do not realize is that air pollution affects much more than just a person’s lungs – it can affect just about any major organ, including the heart.

A study from 2007 which reviewed evidence from various studies on ambient air pollution found that the particulate matter in the air from pollution is the culprit. In particular, PM2.5 has been studied extensively to measure its effects on the human body, and the results are quite conclusive: “For every 10 μg/m3 of PM2.5 long-term exposure, there was an estimated 8–18% CVD mortality risk.”[1] Essentially, this means the higher the concentration of PM2.5, the more likely it is for someone to die from cardiovascular disease, whether it is from atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries) or inflammation. And these are just the long term health effects. Other short term effects ranging anywhere from two hours of exposure to several days of exposure include cardiac arrhythmia, reduced heart rate variability, and even outright heart failure. In fact, PM2.5 has been linked to the thickening of the carotid artery (which narrows your arteries, forcing the heart to work harder to pump the same amount of blood) and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

The amount of air pollution one breathes in is not something to be taken lightly. With many studies done on the effect of air pollution, there is no question that those living in areas with significant air pollution should take extra care to ensure that they minimize the amount of polluted air they breathe in. As mentioned, PM2.5 is considered the primary culprit behind many of the health problems associated with air pollution, so it essential to minimize the amount of PM2.5 one is exposed to. Purchasing an air purifier that can filter out PM2.5 such as HEPA filters or the e2f filter is absolute best way to control the air that one breathes indoors.

Clair air purifiers. Clean air. All day. Every day.

 


References

[1] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiovascular_disease#Air_pollution

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