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Clean air reduces the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson

Clean air reduces the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson

Clean air reduces the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson

It is proven beyond doubt that air pollution is bad for your health. Breathing polluted air causes or aggravates respiratory diseases such as asthma, lung infections, as well as lung cancer. Recently, air pollution was linked to heart disease and obesity and lower cognitive abilities.

The latest research shows that urban air pollution could affect the brain and lead to much faster degenerative health like those seen in dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. This means that millions of people living in cities and urban mega centers are at risk due to air pollution. Urban air pollution hotspots include busy roads, highways, and industrial areas. Diesel fumes spread by idling school buses and vehicle exhaust in general pose a significant health risk especially to children.

Dementia is a condition that negatively affects a person’s mental processes. It is caused by disease or injury and the symptoms include impaired reasoning, personality changes, and memory loss. These symptoms are generally pronounced enough that they interfere with a person’s daily life. It is yet unclear how much air pollution a person’s brain can withstand before the effects of dementia can be conclusively seen. Still, minimizing exposure to air pollution is a good idea health-wise, no matter where you live. 

Urban pollution - what is in the air?

Dirty air contains fine particles, ultra-fine particles, sulfates, nitrates, ammonium ions, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. The type of air pollution that is particularly harmful is comprised of fumes, fine particles, and ultra-fine particles. These fine particles are more dangerous than coarse particles, as coarse particles are normally trapped by the fine hairs in the nose, so they are not able to make their way into the lungs. Fine and ultra-fine particles however, can embed themselves directly into the lungs, and they can make their way from the nostrils directly into the brain.

Researchers have found a link between high levels of air pollution and brain trauma in people who live in these highly polluted areas. Researchers are generally very careful in proclaiming a direct correlation between air pollution and Alzheimer’s. However, human studies are already proceeding, take decades to get conclusive results. Animal studies seem pretty conclusive however, but they are not enough to be completely conclusive on the effect on humans. 

How to minimize risks from air pollution

Experts often say that the nose can be a better indicator than any device on the market. If you smell anything chemical or irritating, you are in a polluted environment. When degenerative diseases develop, the  sense of smell is the first to go. This is the reason why doctors use smell tests as a diagnostic tool. For a healthier life, move away from urban air pollution hotspots, and stay away from homes close to highways and busy roads. Air pollution generally enters a room through windows, doors, air intakes, and even through cracks in the walls. To mitigate this, make sure to leave windows and doors closed on particularly smoggy days and keep HVAC systems well maintained.

Most importantly, use a good indoor air purifier. An air purifier with HEPA and activated carbon and removes chemicals,  fumes, and fine particles from the ambient air.  Air purifiers circulates stale indoor air and reduces the chances of health issues caused by air pollution. Check out Air Purifiers page to learn more about air purifiers that allow you to enjoy a clean indoor environment.

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