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Air Pollution, Both Indoor and Outdoor, Affects Your Heart – Chesapeake, VA

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 28, 2016

You know air pollution hurts your lungs, but what about your heart?

It turns out that air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, is another factor that contributes to cardiovascular disease. According to a new study, air pollution can increase inflammation, which leads to many chronic diseases.

This study looked at the effect of the air in your home and a step that may reduce that pollution.

Indoor air pollution poses a particular problem to overall health because we spend most of our time inside.

An indoor air filter could help cut risks to cardiovascular disease from pollution. This solidifies the link between pollution, inflammation and disease. Reducing or eliminating sources of pollution and dealing with toxins is a major issue.

Improve Indoor Air Quality and Cut Cardio Risk

The goals of the study:

"Our main objectives were to evaluate the potential for a simple intervention to improve indoor air quality and reduce pollution-related cardiovascular health risks and to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to air pollution-related cardiovascular health problems."

Smoky Stoves Emit Pollution

The study found smoke from older wood stoves as not only a key source of heat, it is also a major source of air pollution inside homes.

So to see if they could clear the air and improve the health of residents, they put HEPA (high efficiency particle air) air filters into 25 homes. The air filters were installed in living rooms and bedrooms.

While the study was done in a town where wood smoke was the major source of air pollution, it is relevant to other environments where particles from the exhaust from cars, trucks and buses foul the air.

Improving the Air with HEPA Filters

The results of the study were impressive, finding that the filters placed inside the houses tested worked to cut average amounts of fine particulates by 60 percent and wood smoke by 75 percent. They also discovered that using the filters was associated with reduced inflammation, namely a 32.6 percent decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP), and an improvement in a test for blood vessel function. The reduction in CRP noted in the study is comparable to those that have been achieved with dietary changes.

Among the particles that can be found in a home are:

  • Dust as solid matter or fumes and smoke, which are mixtures of solid and liquid particles.
  • Biological contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, pollen, molds, dust mite and cockroach body parts and droppings, and animal dander.

Particles come in a wide range of sizes. Small particles can be fine or coarse. Of primary concern from a health standpoint are fine particles that have a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (µm) or less. These particles (described as "respirable") can be inhaled; they penetrate deep into the lungs where they may cause acute or chronic health effects.

But it is not only particles in the air that you should be concerned about.  Particle content in municipal water supplies vary greatly.  You should seek the details of your water quality from your municipal or county government.  Regardless, sink or whole-house water purification systems serve to not only improve the taste and feel of your water but it also improves the healthiness of your water too.

For more information on improving indoor air quality, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

Original article by Leo Galland, M.D.

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