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Monday, February 27, 2017

Polluted Air, Confused Mind: Is There a Link Between Dirty Air and Poor Mental Health in Later Years?

The risks of inhaling polluted air when suffering from health conditions like asthma or lung cancer are well known and documented. But there is a growing band of evidence to suggest that certain conditions that appear later in life such as Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia may possibly be linked to polluted atmospheres too.

Unclean Air May Possibly Inhibit Cognitive Function

The link between bad air and impaired brain function is controversial, but the evidence is starting to stack up with a growing number of studies including one published by ‘Translational Psychiatry’ at the end of January suggesting that living in places with “PM2.5 exposures higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) standard of 12 µg/m3 nearly doubled dementia risk in older women”.

The study is not a short-term flash in the pan, either. It has been carried out over the last eleven years and if the finding holds up across a wider spectrum of the population, it’s believed that air pollution could eventually account for around twenty one percent of all dementia cases worldwide.

If the evidence continues to mount, then it’s believed that the connection between pollution and these conditions may lead to better treatments in the future and further improvements in cutting traffic emissions and lowering other forms of pollution from industry.

What Causes Air Pollution?

Many weather forecasts now offer information on air quality as a matter of course, but as a rule, matter such as pollen, dust, wildfires and detritus from industry can all cause air pollution which can have a detrimental effect on health especially in seniors.

When air pollutants are high, it is often advised that anyone with health concerns involving their lungs stays indoors, and there are steps that can be taken to ensure the air in your home stays clean and as fresh as possible too:

· Clean all carpets, soft furnishings and surfaces regularly with a HVAC to help minimize dirt, dust and pollen debris in the home

· Change all filters on vacuum cleaners regularly, or keep them washed and clean.

· Consider buying an air purifier or investing in a dehumidifier

· If you’re choosing new furniture, make sure any furnishings you pick are free from Volatile Organic Compounds - these are gases that are given out by older furniture and sometimes paints too.

This is a guest blog entry.

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