Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai
If you happen to live in a polluted city then those tiny particles that arise owing to pollution can take a toll on your heart. Yes, you have heard it right! It can raise your risk of cardiovascular disease if you constantly tend to expose yourself to air pollution. Follow these vital tips to keep air pollution away.
by Priya J
Pollution coming from traffic, chemical industries, and even mines, can be harmful to the heart. The pollution will show inflammatory effects when it comes to your heart. Moreover, someone who already has a heart problem will have to be extra cautious. Thus, long-term exposure to pollution can invite cardiovascular mortality. While short-term exposure to pollution can be worrisome for elderly people and can cause heart attacks, heart failure, and even a stroke.
What is air pollution?
Air pollution can be described as a mixture of solid particles and gases present in the air that can cause breathing difficulties. Air pollution comes from cars, industries, wood-burning, cooking, smoking, and dust. Did you know? It can take a toll on your heart. Yes, air pollution causes fatal damage to one’s heart. It can also lead to permanent damage to the heart.
How does air pollution impacts the heart?
Are you aware? Airborne pollutants can lead to arrhythmia, stroke, heart attack, and heart failure too. The constant exposure to the pollutants tends to damage the inside walls of your blood vessels and they may become narrow or even hard. Not only this, but it also affects the normal electrical functioning of the heart which could result in abnormal heart rhythms. Moreover, this damage can also put people with existing heart conditions at the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Those dangerous air pollutants invite cardiovascular diseases such as artery blockages and death of your heart tissue due to oxygen deprivation causing permanent damage to the heart.
Every day, you inhale thousands of gallons of air mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and smattering of other gases. It also contains tiny particles spewed from power plants, industry, vehicles. These pollutants can trigger heart attacks, strokes, and irregular heart rhythms, heart failure especially in people who already have or who are at risk for heart disease. There are a wide variety of things in the air, some are natural some are man-made and we are all exposed to a certain degree. Immediate effects of air pollution tend to strike people who are elderly or already struggling with heart disease. Pollution is also believed to have inflammatory effects on the heart causing chronic cardiovascular problems. Our contributions should be to reduce pollution by bicycling or walking instead of driving if possible. By doing this we can reduce the particulate matter of 2.5micron size which is shown to be directly destroying our endothelial layer of blood vessels. Smoking is also one of the risk factors for pollution in households or in the neighborhoods, so we must urge people to quit smoking .as smoking not only increases smokers' heart problems but it impacts accompanying peoples or families at risk of getting heart disease.
Tips to curb air pollution
You will not be able to control air pollution mere by lifestyle changes like adhering to a well-balanced diet, exercise and even avoiding smoking. It will be imperative for you to take a few measures to reduce your exposure to air pollution and stay hale and hearty.
· If you have any existing heart conditions then visit your doctor who will tell you how to safeguard yourself from air pollution.
· You should avoid going to the areas there is air pollution like near busy roads, industries, and factories.
· Avoid exercising outdoors if you suffer from any heart condition as it can be bad for your heart. You can try an indoor workout with the help of your fitness trainer.
· You should avoid using cars and opt for bicycles while you hit the roads. You can even go walking. This will help you reduce air pollution.
· Talk to your doctor about understanding the risks in your area where to find more resources about local air pollution and practical tips to reduce pollution exposure.
· The central theme here is if you are elderly and having heart issues you should be careful and avoid situations where you are exposed to a high level of air pollution.