Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer time and the air you breathe

Air quality signboard indicating an ozone watc...Image via Wikipedia
Summertime.  The temperature's rising it isn't surprising. 

Ah, the dog says of summer will soon be upon us.  Along with warmer temperatures come concerns about the air quality. Depending upon the pollution and particulate matter, the air can become thick and heavy, making it difficult for those with asthma and other respiratory problems difficult to breathe.  But, along with these common complaints come other surprising ones that have been directly linked to contaminated air.

Find out how to protect yourself from these more serious diseases.

The pollution

Pollutants from car engines, industrial plants and chemicals from power plants have been linked to appendicitis, diabetes and breast cancer. Higher ground temperatures are partly responsible as the heat makes the pollutants even more dangerous.

The dangers

Studies have found that high nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide levels place people at higher risk for headaches, thus prompting emergency room visits.  The reason is that the pollutants have inflammatory effects on the blood vessels. (Inflammation weakens the body's defenses against disease due to increased release of free radicals). Higher breast cancer has also been linked to increased levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Fuel combustion  have been shown to increase inflammation in the body with cases of appendicitis being linked to this pollutant.

Blood pressure can also soar because some of the pollutants in the air can cause constriction of the blood vessels thus driving up the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).

The prevention

Plan outdoor activity when the air quality is the best.  This is usually in the morning or evening.  Also, make sure that any work outs or exercising is done far away from busy highways or heavily traveled roads.
Listen to your body.  If you feeel sick.  Stop the activity.

Stock up on foods that are high in antioxidants such as cherries, kale, and tomatoes.  These foods stop the action of free radicals.

"The Air out there" Oprah Magazine
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