Air pollution is inevitably harmful to humans and may cause health problems. People who are living in the central city are at higher risk of being affected due to industrialization such as being surrounded by factories, power plants, buildings, and cars. Progressive development is among the factors contributing to high air pollution. Air pollution consists of very tiny microscopic particles that can transfer into the blood once you breathe and have a chance to affect every organ inside your body.
The presence of particle pollution can irritate the airways. It has the ability to travel into the bloodstream and can cause inflammation by hardening the artery walls, hence increasing the risk of heart disease. People with existing heart disease are at higher risk of getting heart attacks and strokes. Regular health screening is important to ensure you are healthy and do not pose any risk of disease.
What happens if you breathe polluted air?
The most common air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, smoke, and dust are mainly emitted from industries, power plants, and automobiles. There are two types of particle pollution known as inhalable particles with diameters of 10 micrometers or smaller and fine inhalable particles with diameters of 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Breathing particle pollution is very dangerous because it can travel deep into the lung and blood vessels and eventually cause many health problems. People with underlying diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, old people, children, and babies are at greater risk of being affected. These are the symptoms of breathing polluted air:
- Eye irritation and reduced visibility
- Breathing problems
- Tighten chest
- Being tired than usual
- Fast heart rate
- Lung cancer
How does air pollution affect people with heart disease?
People with heart disease or heart conditions may experience trouble when they breathe particle pollution because it may trigger serious heart problems. For example, people with atherosclerosis have a buildup of fatty acids deposited in the lining of the arteries. Once the particle pollution goes inside the blood vessels, it becomes narrower and makes it more difficult for the blood to flow freely, therefore increasing the likelihood of the blood clot and eventually increasing blood pressure because the heart needs to work harder to pump the blood faster to be delivered to the rest of the body. People with early heart conditions must be aware that there is potential for them to experience cardiovascular disease if they are exposed to air pollution.
Tips on how to reduce the possibility of breathing polluted air
It is always advisable to limit yourself by restricting outdoor activities. People with heart disease should be more careful by avoiding breathing particle pollution. You may not want to risk your life with a sequence of heart attacks and being treated with medication every time you breathe polluted air. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of falling sick.
- Always monitor the air quality index when there is air pollution announced in your neighborhood. Air quality index will give you information on how harmful the level of air pollution is. You may need to stay indoors if the level is high.
- If possible, walk or cycle instead of driving a vehicle. It is quite hard to practice carpooling if you are living in a city because of the individualistic culture. However, you can minimize the risk of using vehicles by taking public transportation.
- It is advisable to take a route away from busy roads if you are cycling or walking.
- If you are living in a poor air quality area such as the main city, avoid getting out during peak hours when most people are busy chasing time to resume their activities. Instead, choose to leave early in the morning for work or school to avoid traffic.
- www.nature.com, Environmental determinants of cardiovascular disease: lessons learned from air pollution
- www.bhf.org.uk, Air Pollution
- www.epa.gov, Linking Air Pollution and Heart Disease
- www.ahajournals.org, Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease
- www.cdc.gov, Particulate Matter (PM) Basic
- www.cdc.gov, Particle Pollution