Environment and your heart

The environment in which we live, work and play can affect both our hearts and ability to make the right choices for the heart. Several pollutants make the environment unfavourable for health - affecting mood, concentration, speech and various organs.  Most people are confined to areas with-
·         No access to green spaces and safe paths to carry out daily activities.
·         Exposure to second-hand smoke, indoor and outdoor air pollution.
·         Noise from engines and automobiles etc.
Air and noise pollutions are environmental health risks with a wide-range impact on cardiovascular diseases. Research has shown that tiny air pollution particles can lead to big problems for the heart. When petrol and diesel fumes pollute the air, they easily and readily enter the human body due to their ultra-fine size (smaller than 2.5 microns). Other sources of such pollutants include tobacco smoke, smoke from wood and kerosene stoves, traffic, factories, noxious gases (such as carbon monoxide, chemical vapours etc) and house hold chemicals.  While in the body, they irritate the lungs and the blood vessels around the heart. Overtime, they aggravate the development and progression of diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Research has shown that a 5-decibel noise reduction would reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 1.4% and coronary heart disease by 1.8%. Noise elevates the production of stress hormones (such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline) which leads to high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure overtime.
Air and noise pollution could cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system which is intricately involved in regulating biological functions including blood sugar, blood pressure and viscosity.
Therefore, reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases in places where you work, live and play because it affects your heart and that of those you love. Help your children make right choices for their hearts by creating such right environment void of smoke, noise and inactivity.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi


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