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Study Links Air Pollution to Heart Disease in Women

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In a bit of disturbing news, a study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative has shown that women exposed to high levels of air pollution suffer from an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. This finding serves to highlight the need to clean our environment, planet and the air that we breathe. While this news is disheartening at best, it is also a reminder that there are ways to lessen the impact that fine particulate air pollution has on our health and well-being – if we are willing to do something about it.

What the Study Shows

Researchers followed nearly 66,000 women during the study. The women ranged in age from 56 to 78 and lived in 36 different cities across the United States. None of them had any history of stroke or heart disease, and the levels of fine particulate air pollution in each of their cities was measured and noted. During the study, 1,800 of the approximately 66,000 participants suffered nonfatal – and fatal – cardiovascular events. The vast majority of those women lived in cities with high levels of air pollution.

Fine particulate air pollution refers to pollutants that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers; they are typically produced by automobiles and industrial plants, and hang around in the atmosphere in haze or smoke. Since they are so incredibly small, they are not noticeable to the naked eye but can be inhaled very easily. Once they are breathed in, these pollutants can easily travel deep into the lungs where they can eventually enter the bloodstream. Chronic exposure to these pollutants – as many of the 1,800 women who suffered heart problems during the study experienced – can trigger many unpleasant health side effects and problems.

Out of the cities that participated in the study, some had as little as 3.4 micrograms per cubic meter (like Honolulu) and others, like Riverside, CA, had levels as high as 28.3. This disparity obviously had a lot to do with the presence of industrial plants and other pollution causing spots within the area of a city. Although the measurement associated with each city represented its outside air, it is important to keep in mind that this air is present inside the homes of the study’s participants, too; since they spent most of their time at home, most had lengthy amounts of exposure to it.

Implications of the Study

As the study so dramatically highlighted, the residents of cities with high levels of fine particulate air pollution are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke than are those who live in areas with much lower levels of pollution. While there is little that an individual person can do about the air pollution in their town, there are steps that they can take to reduce the impact that it has on their health. Considering that people spend most of their time in their homes, it makes sense to try and improve the indoor air quality of the home.

Whether you are at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke in general – or if you want to lessen your chances of being affected by fine particulate air pollution – there are things you can do. Beyond relocating to a city with more reasonable levels of air pollution, you can strive to keep the air inside your home as clean and pure as possible. By doing so, your chronic exposure to fine particulate air pollution will be largely mitigated and your chances of developing serious health problems will be lessened a great deal.

Eliminating Fine Particulate Air Pollution from the Home

One of the best things that you can do for your health and the health of your family is to invest in a high quality HEPA air purifier. Even if you live in one of the cities with the highest levels of air pollution – such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Birmingham – using an air purifier with a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter may help reduce your chances of dealing with heart disease. They also promote allergy and sinus relief and remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

If you’d like to protect the health of yourself and your family, Clean Air Plus is happy to help. With one of the most extensive lines of HEPA air purifiers available, Clean Air Plus has what you need to make the air in your home clean and healthy. With products by the leading manufacturers in HEPA filter technology you can rest assured that any HEPA air purifier you purchase will go the extra mile to protect you.


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