Ultravation News and Information Center

Healthy hearts need healthy air: The affects of indoor and outdoor air quality on cardiovascular disease

Eating well, getting enough exercise, and watching your weight are all vital to keeping your heart healthy, but it may not be enough. You also need to breathe clean air. “What?” you may ask. “How does the air I breathe affect my heart?” Studies have shown that “long-term, chronic exposure to air pollution seems to manifest more in cardiovascular disease than it does in respiratory disease”.

Both outdoor and indoor air is full of particulate matter (PM). The larger particles, like pollen, get caught in our nose or throat  – our immune system’s first line of defense in capturing air pollution. But after thousands and thousands of years, our immune system is a little outdated. We can no longer defend ourselves against every kind of airborne particulate matter. Outdoors, automobiles, construction sites and power plants, for example, emit PM that is 2.5 microns in size or less – that’s smaller than our bodies can naturally repel. Indoor air pollution is just as concerning, as most people in the US spend nearly 90% of their time indoors. Cooking, burning candles and wood burning fireplaces (not to mention tobacco smoke) also create PM that is as small as 2.5 microns. These minute particles can work their way into the deepest parts of our lungs and actually move into the bloodstream where air pollution related heart problems begin. These pollutants also cause inflammation in the lungs actually accelerating the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and can lead to ischemic heart disease, which causes heart attacks and other heart related problems. The EPA estimates that fine particulate exposure kills 20,000 people every year, and hospitalizes even more.

Just because our bodies can’t naturally filter the smaller end of the PM spectrum doesn’t mean that we are completely defenseless. By implementing indoor air quality products, such as high quality air filters you can dramatically reduce your exposure to these harmful pollutants. Installing an air filter into your HVAC system is a great way to do this, because it is a convenient and cost effective whole-house solution. MERV 13 rated air filters can capture 65% of particles as small as .1 microns, and 90% of particles in the 1.0 – 3.0 micron range. If you don’t have an HVAC system, portable air filters are a viable option for pollutant reduction in your home. Either way, it’s nice to know you have some control over the quality of the indoor air you breathe which can result in keeping a healthier heart.

 

You can check out the air pollution report card for your state to see how your area measures up:

http://www.stateoftheair.org/

 

To learn more about Ultravation quality air filtration visit:

https://www.ultravation.com/progressive-air-filtration/

 

To learn more about fine particulate matter and your health visit:

http://www.epa.gov/pm/health.html

http://www.hcdoes.org/airquality/monitoring/pm.htm

http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/pmq_a.htm

 

Photo Credit: Luigi Dimanti