Patients suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases are often advised by their doctors to wear face masks or nasal filters to protect them from air pollution. How many of us know that heart patients, whether they have undergone some sort of surgery or have been advised to take certain precautions as a part of their medication, need protection from air pollution by wearing face masks or nasal filters. Reason for taking this additional precaution of wearing nasal filters/face masks is as important as taking prescription medications especially in locations where air pollution is bad. Doctors have known for a long time now that air pollution is harmful to not only patients of asthma and those suffering from respiratory diseases but also to patients suffering from cardio vascular problems and even cancer. Earlier it was a mystery to doctors as to how air pollution that affected lungs could also affect heart. Now that mystery has been solved.
Heart Lung Connection
We need to understand the connection between lungs and heart. We all know that our body cannot function without oxygen, our whole body requires oxygen and our lungs and heart are the organs that carry out this responsibility. When we breathe, oxygen is absorbed by our lungs, our heart sends the blood to its first priority of supply, i.e. our lungs. The right atrium of our heart squeezes and pushes the blood to our lungs to collect oxygen and then sends out the blood loaded with oxygen to the rest of our body cells including our brain through the left atrium. This is a continuous process with every breath we take and is known as the cardio pulmonary system.
Constituents of Polluted Air
There are various kinds of air pollutants that get mixed up in the atmosphere. While some sources of pollutants are natural like volcanic eruptions, dust storms, etc. for others we humans are responsible. Factories, thermal power plants, airplanes, vehicles, etc. send huge quantities of hydrocarbons, Sulphur dioxide, etc. as pollutants into the atmosphere every day. That is not the end, certain manufacturing processes release harmful chemicals like chlorine, sulfuric acid, vinyl chloride and other resultant impurities. Cigarette smoking, trash burning along with other above mentioned pollutants are poisoning the atmosphere on a daily basis. Some of these pollutants are so fine that they come under PM10 category. Others are so small that they are visible only through electron microscope and are categorized under PM2.5.
Effect on Our Heart
Our lungs absorb oxygen from the air when we breath, but in polluted atmosphere, lungs absorb these micro particulates along with oxygen. So, the amount of oxygen supply to heart decreases significantly and our heart in unable to carry out its functions effectively, i.e. supplying sufficient amount of oxygenated blood to the rest of the body and this puts pressure on the heart, our arteries get clogged due to certain chemicals which are now combined with blood, thus, affecting our circulatory system.
What We Can Do
Follow all the instructions given to us by our doctors, avoid heavily congested areas and stay indoors when the forecast of air quality is bad. We can also opt for Nasal air Filters which are easily available, are soft and easy to insert in our nostrils. These are also economical as when the filters get dark, the product itself may not be discarded, only the filters need to be replaced.