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Poor Air Quality and Effect on Your Health

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Air quality is a concern in nearly every region of the country and every corner of the globe, and polluted air can be a significant problem no matter where you live. 

There are many health issues that can come with poor air quality, ranging from minor irritations to an increased chance of death. On the surface of our bodies, poor air quality and pollutants can lead to irritated eyes and skin. Eventually, pollutants can work their way into the body, first causing inflammation and irritation to areas such as the lungs and airways. This is particularly severe in people who suffer from asthma, as the airways can become restricted and the victim can have significant breathing problems, to a point when it becomes life-threatening. 

Over the years, exposure to poor air quality will bring reduced lung function and breathing problems, even in those who would otherwise be healthy. (For example, people who do not have asthma or allergy concerns.) 

According to the American Lung Association, there is “overwhelming evidence” that air pollution leads to increased rates of lung cancer. Particle pollution, as they call it, also leads to heart disease, COPD
, asthma attacks, and can interfere with the growth and function of lungs, especially in small children. 

It seems obvious that air pollution and poor air quality would affect the lungs, but did you know if can affect the heart as well? The American Heart Association says that in most cases, heart issues will strike those who are either elderly or already dealing with heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis or heart valve issues. In many cases, pollutants can cause plaque buildups to rupture, which can trigger a heart attack. In addition, poor air quality increases the risk of stroke. 

The connection between air pollution and heart disease may, in fact, be more significant than lung disease. A comprehensive review of research, which was gathered by Korean scientists, found numerous studies linking air pollution and cardiovascular disease. One study even found that air pollution doubled the risk of obesity and high blood pressure in older people. Another found that with air pollution, deaths from cardiovascular (heart) disease increased at a faster rate than deaths from respiratory (lung) issues. 

They concluded that “air pollution concentrations have a marked and close association with adverse health effect, such as heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases”. They also noted that air pollution appears to have stronger effects on the elderly, children, and people with pre-existing conditions. 


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