Does Poor Air Quality Affect the Heart?

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Being proactive about your cardiovascular health is essential if you want to avoid the serious complications associated with heart disease, which can be fatal in many cases. One in three Americans has one of the major risk factors for heart disease: High cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a smoking habit.

Even if you don’t have any of those risk factors, you could still be exposed to environmental factors that make you more vulnerable to certain types of heart problems and heart disease. Air pollution is one potential cause for concern, especially if you live somewhere that has poor outdoor air quality. If you’re worried about your air quality, read on to learn more about whether or not it can affect your heart.

How does poor air quality affect your heart?

Many people don’t realize how much of an impact the air they breathe has on their health. Air pollution can cause a number of health problems, ranging from mild to potentially fatal. Someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds in the United States, which means that taking care of your heart should be one of your highest priorities.

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A study published in 2016 discovered exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxide levels close to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) can cause premature aging of the blood vessels and an increase in the speed of calcium buildup in the coronary artery. The study was performed by collecting and analyzing data from 6,800 participants on their health and also the air quality in the regions where they live. More localized air quality monitoring around the participants’ homes was also performed.

Medical providers like the Beverly Hills Institute for Cardiology & Preventive Medicine understand that it’s important not to wait for something to go wrong to prioritize your heart health. Dr. Arash Bereliani, a renowned cardiologist and internist at the Institute, even created a non-profit organization with the aim of helping those with no income or limited income receive access to heart disease testing.

How can you improve the quality of the air in your home?

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Once you make the decision to improve your air quality at home, you’ll need to make a plan for how you intend to do so. There are plenty of steps you can take as a homeowner to ensure that your indoor air is safe to breathe. Making sure you have a quality HVAC system that is well-maintained is your best option. You should make sure your filter is changed every 90 days and the system itself is inspected at least once annually.

It can also be worth it to purchase a large room air purifier for spaces in your home where you spend a significant amount of time. Take the time to ensure that the air purifier you buy is the right model for the number of square feet of the room you intend to place it in. Higher quality air also has additional benefits like allowing you to get better sleep, reducing symptoms of allergies and asthma, and eliminating the presence of unpleasant odors in your home.

The human heart is incredibly complicated, but it’s necessary to stay on top of your cardiovascular health, especially if you have any risk factors that might make you more vulnerable to heart disease. While the main factors are blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking, there are other environmental pollutants that can affect your heart health too. While you can’t control the quality of the air outdoors, you can do a lot to make sure the air in your home is clean and safe to breathe. Simple investments like a high-quality HVAC system and an air purifier can make a big difference. Given that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, there are few areas of your health that are more important to take care of.

Jamie Klein
Jamie Klein is the founder and CEO of The Green Parent. She regularly contributes articles to the site and can always be depended on to bring vegan donuts from Donut Friend to the LA office.

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