Category Images
Advertisement


The Truth About How Air Quality Affects Your Health

The world has lost a lot of its natural places due to urbanisation and industrialisation. These changes have also led to a decline in air quality. But why should we worry? What is the relationship between air quality, health, and climate change?

Air

Even If You’re Healthy, Dirty Air Can Make You Sick

Even people with strong immune systems can get sick when they breathe polluted air. There are many sources of air pollution, but the most dominant source is the burning of fossil fuels.

If we want to avoid getting sick from dirty air and climate change, we need to move away from coal and natural gas energy sources. Pronto!

In fact, experts say that climate change-related illnesses are likely to become much more common in the coming decades as extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency and severity due to global warming.

Air pollution is a big problem in many places around the world — so big that it’s been linked to millions of premature deaths each year. Even recently, according to World Health Organisation, about 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide were due to air pollution exposure.

The effects are especially bad for children. Poor air quality has been linked to asthma attacks, lung cancer and other serious diseases that can harm children’s development.

But if we’re going to fight this problem, we all need to understand exactly what air pollution does — and how bad it really is for our health.

Dirty Air Can Increase Your Risk Of Depression

Air quality is just as important to your health as nutritious food and exercise. But have you ever considered that dirty air can increase your risk of depression?

Researchers at American Psychological Association have found a striking link between exposure to poor air quality and mental health issues. Poor air quality can cause inflammation in the body, which over time can lead to a range of health issues.

The researchers found that people exposed to high levels of air pollution are more likely to develop anxiety and depression.

Simply breathing dirty air can increase your risk of depression by close to 50%. Living in a city with high levels of pollutants, aka dirty air, can increase your risk of poor mental health. It’s scary to think that simply breathing the air every day could be causing this.

Just think about this for a moment. You wake up one morning and suddenly realise that your brain is having a hard time focusing. It’s frustrating. Then, to make matters worse, you can’t shake the grumpiness all day long.

Now, this isn’t something that just lasts for a few days. Things progressively get worse until you are depressed and feel hopeless that things will ever get better.

This is a very dirty little secret that is often ignored by most. We’re not just talking about global warming, the ozone hole or climate change. What we mean is that you are probably breathing some pretty nasty air without even knowing it!

Clean Air Can Help Protect You From Diabetes

Did you know that pollution can trigger diabetes? The air quality is so bad in some areas, and this alone can increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Since pollutants are everywhere, we need to do what we can on a personal level to reduce our exposure to this risk factor.

What is the link between pollution and diabetes?

Pollution in the environment can be detrimental to your health in many ways, but it is especially harmful for people who have diabetes or are at risk of developing the disease.

Exposure to toxic fumes and particles can trigger changes in your pancreas that lead to insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels and eventually full-blown type 2 diabetes.

There are several ways in which pollution affects your pancreas:

It makes your body produce more insulin. If you already have insulin resistance, then this will only make matters worse because your body will not be able to use the extra insulin effectively.

This can lead to higher blood sugar levels and eventually full-blown type 2 diabetes if left unchecked.

It causes inflammation of your pancreas which can also damage its ability to produce enough insulin for you.

Air Pollution Can Trigger A Heart Attack

Air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. These findings should make us all take a deeper look at the way we breathe our city streets.

Air pollution is not merely an inconvenience or a bothersome smell. It’s a serious health issue that can trigger heart attacks in people with a history of cardiac problems. And cause heart failure in those who already have it.

A new study has found that air pollution can increase the risk of heart attacks by up to 29% This is especially so among people who already have existing heart conditions or are at greater risk of developing them. Such as those with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that people with cardiovascular problems were more likely to suffer a heart attack on days when air pollution was high.

The findings suggest that air pollution could increase the risk of heart disease in people who are already at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

They found that people who already had cardiovascular disease were 1% more likely to experience a heart attack on days when pollution levels were high compared with days when they were low.

That finding held true even after adjusting for factors like age, gender, socioeconomic status and other factors that could influence outcomes.

Smoggy Air Can Aggravate Asthma

Air pollution can worsen asthma in many ways. It increases inflammation in the body and makes it harder for you to breathe. It also triggers asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

If you have asthma, you might know what poor air quality does to your health. Did you know that air pollution can also exacerbate your asthma?

Poor air quality can cause asthma symptoms to flare up, especially in people who already have asthma. The effects of air pollution on breathing are different for each person.

This depends on their age; how severe their asthma is and how long they’ve had it. Children with asthma are more likely to be affected by poor air quality than adults with asthma.

What causes smog?

Smog is caused by small particles that come from burning fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel fuel. Coal-fired power plants. And industrial processes like cement manufacturing.

These small particles — called particulate matter — are so small that they can get deep into your lungs when you breathe them in.

People with heart or lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis may be more sensitive to these fine particles than healthy people are.

Children Are More Sensitive To Poor Air Than Adults

Children breathe about two to three times more often than adults, so they inhale more pollutants with each breath. In addition, their respiratory systems are more delicate than those of adults.

This makes them more prone to developing respiratory illnesses such as asthma and pneumonia.

In addition, children have different behaviours when it comes to physical activities. They play outside more than adults do, which exposes them to higher levels of air pollution from vehicles, industry, and other sources.

Children also tend to be smaller than adults, which means that a given level of pollution may affect them more than it does an adult of similar size.

Another factor that can affect how much pollution is absorbed by a person’s lungs is their physical activity level. When exercising vigorously, your body inhales and exhales more rapidly.

This increased respiration rate results in more air being exchanged with the environment around you and therefore more pollutant exposure.

Poor Air Quality Is A Contributing Factor To Many Diseases

Air pollution is a dangerous and widespread issue that can cause health problems for everyone, including you and your family. Polluted air is a threat to those with existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or lung disease.

Polluted air can worsen people’s symptoms and reduce the quality of life for those susceptible to chronic illnesses. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from the dangers of dirty air.

The most common air pollutants include:

Sulphur dioxide (SO2): A gas created by burning coal and other fossil fuels, sulphur dioxide contributes to acid rain and causes health problems such as asthma attacks, bronchitis, and heart disease.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx): Produced from burning fuel in cars and power plants, NOx gases lead to smog formation and are harmful to human health. They also react with sunlight to produce ground-level ozone, which is linked to respiratory problems like asthma.

Particulate matter: Tiny particles found in smoke, dust and fumes that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems including lung cancer, heart attacks or strokes.

Carbon monoxide (CO): A poisonous gas produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline or coal in vehicles or industrial processes like steel manufacturing.

CO exposure affects the cardiovascular system by reducing the delivery of oxygen throughout the body while simultaneously increasing blood pressure within the lungs’ small vessels.

Our Health Is Determined By The Air That We Breathe

It’s no secret that air pollution is a problem, but it’s also something that can be easily overlooked. We take the air we breathe for granted every day and don’t realise how much it affects our lives until it starts to deteriorate.

The air we breathe has a big effect on our health and when the quality of that air deteriorates, our health suffers.

Air pollution is not just a problem in big cities like London or New York – even smaller towns can suffer from poor air quality. And while we may not always be able to see how much damage is being done to our bodies, many symptoms can show what is going on inside.

Here are some of the most common signs you’re breathing in polluted air:

Headaches – If you suffer from headaches regularly then this could be linked to poor air quality. Air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide can cause blood vessels in the brain to swell which can trigger headaches.

Eye irritation – Particles in polluted air can irritate your eyes causing them to water more than usual or even feel dry and sore. This can make vision blurry and affect your ability to see clearly at night-time when headlights shine through windscreens (known as glare).

Air pollution can affect different parts of your body and cause a variety of illnesses. Some effects are immediate like eye irritation and respiratory problems while others are long term like lung cancer.

Air quality can be impacted both indoors and outdoors, but there are ways to improve the situation for yourself and your family.

The air we breathe does not stand still but moves around. It’s vital to realise the importance of indoor air quality, just as much as outdoor air quality. With today’s continuously changing technology and lifestyle, it can be hard to make a healthy choice.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of air inside buildings that people spend time in. If you have ever been in a poorly ventilated room or office space, you know how quickly the air can become stale and unpleasant.

This is because there are so many things that affect the quality of indoor air: temperature, humidity, light and darkness levels, dust, chemicals, and odours.

These can come from cleaning products and paints, building materials (such as carpeting), cooking fumes, cigarette smoke, mould and mildew spores.

Poor IAQ can lead to health problems such as allergies, asthma attacks and fatigue. Many people think that only smokers or those who work with chemicals are at risk for health problems related to poor IAQ. But anyone who spends a lot of time indoors may be at risk for poor IAQ exposure.

Particularly if their home or office does not receive enough fresh air ventilation exchange through open windows or doors regularly.

Conclusion

Every breath could determine your health and well-being. What’s surprising is that the real threat to our health may simply be the absence of clean air.

Though we breathe more than 20,000 times a day we don’t pause to consider the quality of each breath. Life without clean air can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, even fatal.

However, with a few easy steps, you can ensure that your air is the cleanest it can be.

Whether you’re concerned about airborne dust, pollen, or pet dander. Or perhaps live in an area with excess outdoor air pollution such as smog. Knowing how to preserve the quality of your air can help you breathe easier and live happier.


Also for you...