Effects of air pollution on our health and well-being are almost a universal consensus. But if you are still skeptical, here’s evidence: recent findings published in the journal Hypertension, suggested a conclusive connection between heart problems and fine particulate air pollution. This also serves as a dramatic reminder of why achieving clean, healthy air is so critical.
The Significance of the Study
Previous studies have never been able to make a clear determination between whether fine particulates measuring under 2.5 microns were more hazardous to people’s health. The University of Michigan study has now proved that fine particulate pollution is, indeed, more problematic than ozone. Neither thing is good, but fine particulate pollution was much more dangerous than ozone. In particular, fine particulate pollution had considerable negative effects on heart health.
For now, fine particulate pollution can trigger two primary responses:
- Alter central nervous system – Incredibly, the study showed that when people breathed in fine particulate pollution, changes were triggered in their central nervous system. In this case, the central nervous system switched from controlled, regulated functioning to a fight-or-flight mode. When that happens, blood pressure increases – as does the heart rate. It appears that the body reacts this way in response to the foreign particles – in this case, fine particulates – that have entered the body.
- Inflammation – It also appears that exposure to fine particulate pollution also triggers inflammation which stiffens the walls of the blood vessels and ultimately weakens them. This reaction was noted within the 24 hours after a person was exposed to dirty air, and can cause major health problems like stroke and heart disease.