Air Pollutants May Affect the Respiratory System and Cardiovascular System

Clean air is a basic precondition of our health. However, most of us living in United States and other developed countries suffer from exposure to many air pollutants that put our health at risk. Air pollution affects our health in different ways from simple to serious problems. For example, particulate matter in the air decreases life expectancy according to many researchers; Pollutants such as ozone irritate people’s breathing, trigger asthma symptoms and cause lung and heart diseases; exposure to environmental tobacco smoke causes many severe respiratory health problems such as asthma and lung cancer. Prolonged exposure to certain air pollutants can even cause human infertility according to recent medical researchers.

Air pollution and its effects on health

Air pollution effects greatly human health, mainly the respiratory and cardiovascular system. The individual reactions to air pollutants vary depending on the type of agent to which people are exposed, the degree of exposure and health conditions, and genetic factor of the person. Air pollutants can cause variety of effects on health, ranging from biochemical and physiological changes to breathing difficulties, cough, and aggravation of respiratory and cardiac disorders. It left untreated, those medical conditions may result in hospitalizations and even premature death.

Effects of air pollution on human Respiratory system

The quality of the Air we breathe affects the quality of our health. Air quality has an impact on the health of our lungs and the entire respiratory system. In addition to oxygen, the air contains other substances such as pollutants, which can be harmful to health. The inhalation of those pollutants may have harmful effects on the lungs and other organs of the body. The respiratory system is particularly sensitive to air pollutants because it is made up of a mucous membrane covering its internal surface. The lungs are designed to absorb large amounts of air (400 million liters on average over a lifetime) in close contact with the bloodstream and facilitate the transport of oxygen.

The cells of the lung tissue can be damaged by air pollutants such as ozone, metals and free radicals. Ozone can cause damage to the alveoli – air sac in the lungs where exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is produced. More specifically, the airway tissues, which contain a large number of bioactivation enzymes, can transform organic pollutants into reactive metabolites, which can cause lung injuries, neurobehavioral disorders, and cancers possibly including breast cancer.

Effects of air pollution on human cardiovascular system

Air pollutants, once inhaled, are absorbed by the blood and transported to the heart. A wide range of chemical and biological substances can directly affect the cardiovascular system and lead to structural damages, such as necrosis degenerative and inflammatory reactions. Some pollutants may also affect contractility of the heart. If these functional changes are sufficiently serious, they can cause fatal arrhythmias.

The changes in the organic systems may also have effects on the endocrine system. Some cytokines released by other inflamed organs (due to air pollutants) may also produce negative effects on the cardio-vascular, including the reduction of the mechanical performance and metabolic efficiency of the heart and blood vessels.

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Does Altitude Affect Your Asthma?

If you have asthma and you enjoy outside activities that take you to higher elevations or much, much higher, the possible danger has certainly crossed your mind. Well, the news isn’t all bad, though it is cautionary.

Asthma is a chronic lung condition, characterized by a difficulty with breathing. People with asthma have extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways. During an asthma attack, their airways become irritated and react by narrowing and constructing, causing increased resistance to airflow, and obstructing the flow of the air passages to and from the lungs.

There’s no question, as an asthma sufferer you’re more likely to be affected by altitude sickness than if you didn’t have the disease. However, if you’re fit and healthy, with asthma that’s well controlled, you should have no problems coping. This is, of course, provided you ascend slowly and recognize and accept your limitations.

Altitude will generally have little effect on stable asthmatics.

If your asthma is so severe that your blood oxygen is low, then air travel can put you in danger of reducing your blood oxygen level even further. That, combined with the dry, cool conditions generally encountered at high altitudes, could trigger asthma symptoms. In addition, if your destination is a high altitude, a city such as Denver for example, and you’re unaccustomed to that altitude and have little opportunity to acclimatize, you may experience heightened symptoms. As always, discuss this with your doctor ahead of time.

Now, if you’re dealing with severe asthma and you’ve been using your bronchodilator three or more times a week over the previous year, high-altitude treks can also increase your risk of an asthma attack. As already mentioned, the dry, cool conditions generally encountered at higher altitudes tend to aggravate the disease. Climbing, in and of itself, can be a very strenuous exercise which may trigger exercise-induced asthma in some people.

Then there’s your inhaler to consider. In freezing conditions, pressurized inhalers may not work properly. So before using yours, first you’ll need to warm it up using the body heat from your hands.

The best thing to do is to discuss your trip with your doctor several weeks in advance of your departure. This will allow time to work out a personal asthma action plan for the trip. This might involve increasing your preventer treatment for several weeks before the trip to give your airways extra protection, or measuring peak flow while away to determine how altitude is affecting your lung function, or even simple things like ensuring that you have enough medication and backup medication.

High altitudes do not need to be avoided. Just make certain you take some basic precautions. Humid air is certainly better for keeping your airways moist. However, the effects of dry, cool air can be prevented by keeping your asthmatic condition under close control. And some asthma sufferers, particularly those whose asthma is triggered by house-dust mites may actually find their asthma improves at higher elevations, where the dust mites can’t survive.

So ask your doctor about any high-altitude travelling you have upcoming, heed his advice, and enjoy your trip!

How Pool Salt Water Chlorinators Affect Asthma Attacks

If you have a child who struggles with asthma, you know that everything you do is ruled by their asthma. You constantly find yourself worrying about what will and won’t trigger an asthma attack. Parents of asthmatic children find themselves wondering if they should allow their children to swim in swimming pools.

There is some evidence that the chlorine that is commonly used to keep the pool sanitized and the water really clean could actually trigger an asthma attack. Not only do many experts feel that chlorine can trigger breathing problems in individuals who already have asthma, some experts wonder if the reason that there are so many asthmatic swimmers could be because the chlorine causes some people to develop the respiratory condition.

In the past the only way your child could enjoy a cool dip in their swimming pool was if they were willing to risk an asthma attack. The good news is that it might now be possible for your asthmatic child to enjoy swimming in your swimming pool and not have to worry that they won’t be able to breathe when they get out of the pool. The answer could come in the form of pool salt water chlorinators.

What pool salt water chlorinators do is eliminate the need for you to use chemicals to keep the water in your pool clean. When you take advantage of the pool salt water chlorinators the only additive that will be in your swimming pool will be salt. Unlike the chlorine, the salt should not trigger an asthma attack the next time your child goes swimming.

Your child isn’t the only person who will enjoy swimming in your pool better after the pool salt water chlorinators have been added. You’ll find that you also like the pool better. The chemicals you previously used have a tendency to dry out swimmers skin and hair. This won’t happen when you are swimming in a pool that is treated with pool salt water chlorinators.

While the fact that you child will be able to enjoy a cool dip without having to wonder if they are going to be able to breathe or not is the best reason to make the change from pool cleaning chemicals to pool salt water chlorinators, it isn’t the only reason.

Using pool salt water chlorinators is going to save you all kinds of money. Although you will have to add a bit of extra salt from time to time, you aren’t going to have to ever purchase pool cleaning supplies every again. The pool salt water chlorinators do a better job of keeping your pool water sanitized which means that there will be less wear and tear on your filtration system which will save you even more money.