IAQ and Heart Health
Everyone knows that pollution is bad for your health. We all enjoy clean air and dislike the idea of chemicals going into and damaging our lungs. But did you know that polluted air can also seriously affect your cardiovascular health? Long term and short-term exposure to air pollution can lead to heart attacks and other forms of heart disease. Someone in the United States dies from heart disease every 40 seconds, according to the American Heart Association. While there are a few main contributors to this statistic, air pollution also has a part to play in making the problem worse.Doctors often tell people to follow a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise to improve their heart health. And yet, breathing bad air can undo much of the good that nutrients and exercise can do to help. While the research regarding the way air pollution correlates to heart health is ongoing, previous and current studies have shown that there is a direct link between exposure to air pollution and a build-up of plaque in the arteries.
What Kind of Particles Cause Harm?
It’s been well established that air quality directly affects cardiovascular health. Still, research is ongoing as to what the exact results are and what the full extent of the damage could be.
What is polluting the air you breathe? It could be many things. Large particles like dust, smoke, and dirt are easily visible air pollutants, but there are also smaller ones that can’t be seen by the naked eye. These microscopic particle air pollutants are known as fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5. These pollutants can work their way further into your respiratory and circulatory systems than larger ones, so they present a much greater risk. PM 2.5 gets its name from the fact that the fine particulate matter is only 2.5 microns in diameter.
Some sources of PM are construction sites, fires, industry plants, and automobiles.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Outdoor air quality isn’t all you need to worry about, though. Most people assume that the air inside their homes is safe and clean, but that may not be the case. If your HVAC system and air vents are dirty and the air vents are poorly maintained, there may be pollutants in your home’s air circulation. If you fail to change your air filters regularly, they’ll get clogged and will no longer stop harmful particles from circulating. A clogged filter will also strain your HVAC system by making it harder for your fan to blow air through the ducts, shortening its life while increasing your energy bills.
Dust, mold, mites, dander, and pollen, while not microscopic, can also be irritating to the lungs and lead to new or worsening health problems in those who inhale them. That’s why it’s important to change your HVAC filters regularly and get your ducts on a regular cleaning schedule. If too much dust builds up in your ductwork and you get some moisture or condensation, that’s all you need for mold to grow. Mold can lead to serious health problems in sensitive individuals and can contribute to poor health in anyone who inhales the spores.
Air pollution doesn’t pose an equal risk to everyone. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, those with pre-existing heart and/or lung conditions, and those living in certain environments are all at higher risk. Pregnancy can cause changes in blood pressure, and exposure to air pollution can compound this risk. Long-term exposure to air pollution while pregnant has also led to premature births and low birth weights in some cases.
Keep Your HVAC System Clean and your Air Healthy
Thorough HVAC system maintenance and cleaning isn’t something you can do on your own. Professional HVAC system cleaners like the ones at AdvantaClean have unique equipment designed specifically to deep clean your vents and ducts. Keeping your air ducts properly clean helps them keep out more harmful particulate matter and safeguard the health of those you love. Contact us today for an appointment and take charge of your indoor air quality!