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Air Pollution and Pneumonia in the Elderly: A Possible Link

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It seems as if a new study about the dangers of air pollution is released every day. There’s a good reason for this: Air pollution can have very negative consequences on the state of your health. The implications of air pollution on public health revolve around a possible link between particulate matter and hospitalizations for pneumonia among the elderly. According to a study, elderly people living in highly polluted areas are up to two times more likely to be hospitalized for pneumonia than those who live in areas with cleaner and purer air.

The Problem with Pneumonia

Most of us have heard of pneumonia, but many of us may not realize the dire consequences that it can cause. For one thing, approximately 600,000 people are hospitalized for pneumonia in the United States alone each and every year. Among the elderly, pneumonia is the number one cause of death. There’s no doubt, then, that this is a serious illness that can cause very grave problems for a large percentage of the population. Should a link exist between air pollution and pneumonia, it’s in the public’s best interest to have something done about it.

A Link between Air Pollution and Pneumonia

According to a study whose findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, people who live in areas with higher concentrations of particulate matter are up to two times as likely to end up hospitalized for pneumonia. In other words, such people are at a greater risk of coming down with pneumonia that is severe enough to involve a hospital stay. When particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels are high, a person's respiratory system can become compromised which can lead to many different health problems.

About the Study

The study in question was conducted by McMaster University in Canada. In it, researchers took a close look at 345 people aged 65 and older in the Hamilton, Ontario area. Each person had been hospitalized for pneumonia at least once within the past two years. Hamilton is home to many industrial areas, meaning that those who live there tend to be exposed to a lot more particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. From this information, researchers discovered that these people were much more likely to become hospitalized for pneumonia than were those who lived in areas with much lower levels of air pollution.

Implications of the Study

As with any important study, it’s critical to take a look at the findings to determine how they affect you. If you are an elderly person – or if you live with one – and you live in a highly polluted area, your concern about the potential of being hospitalized for pneumonia should be elevated. Beyond that, though, the fact that a possible correlation exists at all further emphasizes the fact that air pollution can have a very damaging effect on overall health. Breathing in the cleanest air possible is very important.

What You Can Do

Since air pollution seems to have an effect on whether or not an elderly person will be hospitalized for pneumonia – a disease that is the number one killer of the elderly – it stands to reason that it’s important to keep the elderly in areas with clean, pure air. Besides relocating, though, what can be done? One of the best ways to improve the indoor air quality of any home – regardless of where it is – is using a HEPA air purifier. HEPA air purifiers are incredibly effective and can improve indoor air quality by a considerable degree.

HEPA Air Purifiers: Make the Air in Your Home Cleaner

Breathing clean air can help reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized for pneumonia, and it can bring about a host of other key health benefits as well. Asthma, allergy and sinus relief can all be facilitated by breathing in clean air. A HEPA air purifier with it's HEPA filters clean up to 99.97% of particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns from the air, leaving the air much cleaner and healthier to breathe.

 

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  • Administration Staff