People are always looking for the next great thing that’s good for their health. Sometimes it means that a new diet becomes popular or a certain kind of exercise becomes part of your everyday life. It’s easy to focus on improving your health through what you can see, but most people forget that what you can’t see also has an impact on your health. Air quality is so important to keeping and improving your health. It’s why people are encouraged to change the air filters in their homes and cars so often. But what about the rest of the air you breathe when you’re in other environments?
Air pollution has become a major problem worldwide, so it’s been closely studied in recent decades. As the studies have progressed, it’s become obvious that air quality is linked to numerous health issues. Read on to find out how air quality impacts our health. You’ll be better informed about air pollution and figure out the steps you can take to breathe cleaner air.
1. It Causes Respiratory Problems
The first way air impacts our health is by causing respiratory problems. The first part of the body air encounters is the lungs, and if that air isn’t clean, your lungs can’t process it in the way they should.
Polluted air makes your lungs struggle to breathe, causing loss of function in people of all ages. The longer someone breathes polluted air, the harder it will be to take a deep breath or any regular breaths at all for that matter.
2. It Affects Miscarriages
Microscopic pollutants are invisible to the eye, but they still make their way into the body after they’re breathed in by the lungs. Once they’re in the bloodstream, they affect pregnant women, increasing the likelihood of miscarriages and even fertility.
3. It May Trigger Asthma
Children who spend all day in school are still near areas of traffic, which means air pollutants are in their school. It can trigger asthma in some children and make it worse in those who already have it.
4. It’s Related To Chronic Bronchitis
In cities that have a high amount of air pollution, people are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis and deal with it as an ongoing issue, no matter how much medical treatment they receive.
5. It Accelerates Lung Cancer
Fine particulate air pollution may rest in the body longer than it can be processed out, leading to the acceleration of lung cancer.
As cancer numbers grow higher, companies and governments are recognising the importance of clean air. That’s why they’ve created projects like the Indiana Clean Air Project Grant, so they can verify greenhouse gas emissions and help more people than cleaning city by city.
6. It Ages The Lungs
As lungs struggle with high levels of air pollutants, they begin to age faster. The pollutants break down the lungs, decreasing how long they can function on their own.
7. It Hardens Arteries
Once pollutants pass through the lungs, they move through the bloodstream to other organs. When they reach the heart, they can rapidly harden arteries and cause cardiovascular issues in otherwise healthy people.
8. It’s Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease
While Alzheimer’s Disease is mainly linked to the biological makeup of an individual, it can be triggered or made worse by air pollution.
9. It Increases Inflammation
When the body identifies air pollution particles, it recognises them as intruders. This immediately increases inflammation all over the body, causing things like breathing issues and even irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
10. It Decreases Life Expectancy
Pollutants age lungs and inflame the body, making it work harder over time. This decreases life expectancy for people of all ages who live in areas of extreme air pollution. In 2016, air pollution was the cause of 6.1 million deaths alone.
It Works Quickly And Quietly
The biggest reason air pollution is so dangerous is that it can’t be seen. People may live in cities where the air is polluted and they don’t even know it. Symptoms can appear to be things like the common cold or bronchitis, but they’re caused by what people go home and breathe after getting diagnosed.
Read about air reports from where you live to determine the air pollution where you are. Then get involved with groups or organisations that want to help decrease air pollution. It may be a major global issue, but people can still reduce it over time if more people work together.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.