Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Air quality and your health

By Camille St. Onge, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

You’re doing a lot of things to keep your heart healthy. You eat right. You exercise. You don’t smoke. But are you paying attention to the quality of the air you breathe?? If not, today’s the day to start.

Air pollution — especially particle pollution — is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Exposure to fine particles has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and early death in people with heart disease.

What can you do? Do everything you’re supposed to for good heart health. And pay attention to the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) — especially if you have heart disease, or if you’re at greater risk of a heart attack (including men over 45 and women over 55).

When the WAQA  reaches Code Orange – the level considered unhealthy for these at-risk groups – you should make some adjustments to your exercise plans.

Walking instead of running, or weeding your garden instead of pushing a mower or hauling
mulch, are just a couple of examples of things you can do to reduce the amount of pollution you breathe as you’re exercising. And always exercise away from busy roads if you can: particle levels generally are higher in those areas.

Don’t wait for symptoms to tell you if particles are affecting you: your first symptom could be a heart attack.

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