Pollution and Heart Health
The air you breathe is mostly made up of nitrogen and oxygen gasses. This air also contains particles from power plants, industrial factories, and vehicles. According to Harvard Medical School, these pollutants can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and irregular heart rhythms. The World Health Organization has estimated that around seven million people die every year from exposure to polluted air. Another multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis and air pollution shows that long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a build-up of calcium in the arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. Over time, this can lead to coronary artery disease.
Noise pollution can also pose a risk to your heart health. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to environmental noise from trains, planes, and cars may raise your blood pressure and disrupt your sleep, both of which can lead to an increased risk for heart disease.
So, what can we do to help limit our exposure to pollution? One step is to avoid exercising near busy roads and industrial factories. You can also reduce the pollution you create by walking or biking, when possible. In addition, if you suffer from asthma or coronary artery disease, you may want to keep an eye on your local air quality data and consider staying indoors if the air quality is considered poor in your area.
While you can’t control air quality or completely eliminate air and noise pollution, taking steps to keep your heart healthy, such as exercise and eating a heart healthy diet, may reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Air Pollution: A Threat to your Heart and Longevity? https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/air-pollution-a-threat-to-your-heart-and-longevity
- Air Pollution and Heart Disease: An Important link. https://www.pca.state.mn.us/featured/air-pollution-and-heart-disease-important-link