When you go outside, do you ever struggle to breathe? Especially if you live in a big city or are near a factory that emits toxic smoke, you should be concerned about the quality of air that you breathe. Air pollution can have a negative effect on your health, but you might not be aware of all of the health consequences. Here are four potential consequences of breathing air that has been tainted with pollutants.
Asthma is a common health condition that is exacerbated by ozone, which is more commonly referred to as smog or haze. Ozone tends to accumulate more frequently in large cities where there are many cars. On days in which there is a lot of ozone, people with asthma experience more episodes and there are more emergency trips to the hospital to treat asthma. In other words, if you suffer from asthma, then living in a city with poor air quality will only make your breathing more difficult.
Air pollution can also contribute to cardiovascular disease. Doctors often tell patients to be aware of what they eat and to exercise so that they lower their risk of cardiovascular disease due to high blood pressure and cholesterol. They also tell patients to quit smoking because this is another major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. But, according to the EPA, air pollution increases the likelihood of the disease because “long-term exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides at levels close to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) can prematurely age blood vessels and contribute to a more rapid buildup of calcium in the coronary artery.”
Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can affect the growth and health of the lungs. Inside the home, radon can cause lung cancer. Outside of the home, particulates from exhaust pipes and industrial sources can cause lung cancer. When smaller particles get inside of our lungs, our bodies don’t sneeze or cough them out, and these particles can even get inside of the blood system. Since our bodies don’t rid themselves of the particulates, they can cause lung cancer.
Since air pollution can cause damage to vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, premature death is often the final result. While it’s possible to have heart and lung disease treated, avoiding air pollution decreases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular and lung disease, and it decreases the likelihood of a fatal asthma attack.
While you might exercise, eat healthfully, and abstain from smoking, the quality of the air that you breathe still plays a crucial role in your health and life expectancy. Particulates in the air from factories, exhaust pipes, and even fires can severely impact your health when you are exposed to them for long periods of time. If you live in an area with highly polluted air, you should seriously consider moving. Get in touch with a real estate agent and seek out a region with better air quality.