Air Pollution Related Diseases and Illnesses

Photo of Air Pollution and AsthmaticAir pollution is a modern-day problem with contemporary roots.

It affects every city in the world, and those that are more developed tend to have more air pollution than those that are not.

It seems as though the trade-off for productivity and innovation is our air supply, but that’s not exactly a fair exchange.

Air pollution can cause a number of potentially deadly diseases and illnesses, and according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), that’s exactly what’s happening.

Our site is dedicated to helping people combat these issues by educating them on the use of an air purifier inside the home. An air purifier can dramatically reduce the number of airborne toxins that are present inside the home, leading to a healthier life. Start at our homepage to discover how to find the best air purifiers for a variety of concerns.

What Does the NIEHS Say?

After an extensive study on the long-term effects of air pollution on public health and safety, it was determined that extended exposure to polluted air can have drastic effects on a person’s well being. Airborne pollutants create an increased risk of respiratory illness and organ failure. Furthermore, air pollution has these damaging effects on people regardless of their proximity to it, and without regard to their age, nationality, or gender.

NIEHS noted that children and elderly citizens are more vulnerable to the potentially life-threatening hazards of air pollution. Breathing in fine particulate matter and airborne toxins has detrimental effects on those whose immune systems are weakened due to age. Despite the warnings, modern-day air pollution is still allowed to reduce the quality of life for every person in the world.

In fact, science has proven that air pollution is directly responsible for the development of asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and heart disease in many patients.

The Air Pollution-Asthma Connection

Air pollution can exacerbate the symptoms of asthma, even in those who do not usually have flair-ups.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that is often caused by pollution from cars and factories. This non-profit international environmental advocacy group based in New York City, states that certain air pollutants can trigger asthma more than others, including:

  • Ground level ozone
  • Particulate matter
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Sulfur dioxide

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agreed after the results of their latest study came in. Their research shows the damaging asthmatic effects of air pollution that contains environmental or second-hand tobacco smoke. Obviously, living and breathing fresh, clean air is important to all people, but especially to those with asthma.

How Does Pollution Effect or Cause COPD?

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, is a common disease that some experts believe is caused by breathing polluted air.

The United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) both said that a person’s air sacs may become distended, floppy, or lose their shape due to harmful particulate matter in the air. Furthermore, the American Lung Association, or ALA, recently noted that even very low levels of ground ozone or fine particulate matter can increase a person’s risk of being hospitalized for pneumonia and/or COPD.

Lung Cancer, Air Pollution and You

Lung cancer is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. Those abnormal cells eventually turn into tumors, causing the lung cancer diagnosis.

Experts have defined two principle types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lunch cancer (SCLC). A study published in 2002 in “The Journal of the American Medical Association” illustrated how long-term exposure to fine particulate matter that was generated through combustion can pose a very significant risk to the cardiopulmonary and respiratory health of citizens. In other words, the emissions from motor vehicles are systematically problematic.

How Does Pollution Cause Heart Disease?

While many people may think that pollution merely effects the respiratory health of citizens, such is not the case. Heart health can also be damaged after an over-exposure to air pollution. Put simply, the human heart reacts just as badly to unhealthy air as the rest of the body does.

Carbon monoxide in the air can reach the blood through the lungs to be carried towards the heart, starving it of the precious oxygen it needs to thrive. For example, the particulates in diesel can cause blood vessels to constrict, thereby limiting blood flow significantly. Over time, the overworked heart can become diseased and require medical attention and diligent management.

A Few Shocking Facts About Health and Air Pollution

If that information wasn’t enough to scare you, consider this:

  • Air pollutants are small enough to burrow deep in the lungs without you knowing it
  • The American Heart Association reports a 1.4% increase in heart disease with every 10 micrograms of particulates per cubic foot of air
  • Current EPA-approved air quality control levels can cause damage to the heart, lungs, brain and other body organs
  • Particulate matter can interfere with the heart’s electrical system, causing heart troubles

Basically, an already damaged body is more susceptible to the effects of modern-day air pollution, and those who are healthy now may not be in the near future.

The Good News

Fortunately, we can still do something about the quality of our air. As the world’s governments become more aware of the problem, we can look forward to adjustments in the way things are done. In the meantime, however, be sure to stay inside on low air-quality days and, of course, add an air purifier to your home. This single device can drastically help improve the air quality within your home and help prevent the damaging health effects cause by air pollution.

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