With every beat of our heart, oxygen-rich blood is pushed through the body’s network of arteries and veins, delivering blood to vital organs throughout the body. Blood pressure measures the force of this blood against the arterial walls. High blood pressure, or hypertension, describes when the force of blood against the walls is elevated to an unhealthy level. Over time, high blood pressure can stretch the blood vessels, causing damage to the arteries and veins and increasing the risk for stroke, heart disease and other health problems.
Hypertension Risk Factors
High blood pressure affects millions of men and women across the country. Many people are aware of the more common causes for high blood pressure, including smoking and diet high in cholesterol. Fortunately, we can control for these risk factors by avoiding smoking and maintaining a low cholesterol diet.
The Relationship between Air Quality and High Blood Pressure
In recent years, air pollution has become a concern for people around the world. As industry experts and world leaders grapple with how to curb carbon emissions, researchers in China have discovered a definitive link between air pollution and hypertension. It’s long been suspected that poor air quality is a risk factor for poor health, and the initial findings indicate that even low levels of air pollution can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
Clean Air, Healthy Hearts
The air we breathe can have a very real impact on our health. Exposure to coal burning, vehicle exhaust and particles from dirt and dust can lead to inflammation that may damage the arteries. These findings are further proof that it’s important to pay attention to local air quality alerts and take the necessary precautions to protect your health.