Health and Fitness

A Guide to Minimizing Air Pollution’s Effects

In addition to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, smoke, road dust, industrial emissions, and pollen, air pollution consists of a variety of gases and particles. We all know that we should breathe clean air, but why is it so important? The effects of air pollution can sometimes be invisible, but they have a significant impact on human health. Evidence suggests that air pollution can adversely affect the health of humans in more ways than previously thought.

Health risks associated with air pollution are both long-term and short-term. Air pollution can cause asthma attacks, wheezing, and coughing in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In addition to respiratory infections, heart attack and stroke risks, air pollution worsen cancer risk for those who are already ill. Air pollution worsens the health of children, the elderly, and low-income residents disproportionately. Asthma prevalence is significantly different by race and ethnicity in Minnesota. Geographic disparities also exist. A more serious air pollution effect is shown by the higher asthma hospitalization rate among Twin Cities children than among their counterparts in Greater Minnesota. 

In terms of air pollution-related diseases, they include:


Air pollution is responsible for many diseases including asthma. An individual with this condition finds it difficult to breathe due to extra mucus produced by swollen, inflamed and narrowed airways. Symptoms of asthma, apart from difficulty breathing, include coughing, wheezing, chest pain, fast heart rate, throat irritation, and shortness of breath at night.

Weakening of Lung Function

While air pollution is not the sole cause of this illness. It is certainly a predominant sign that can be the catalyst for pneumonia and lung cancer. All body systems are affected by aging, and that includes cells, tissues, and most importantly, organs. The lung capacity of seniors is lower than that of young and middle-aged adults, and air pollution further exacerbates the condition.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Several solid particles and liquids are contained in particulate matter, as well as some poisonous substances that are suspended in the air. Inhaling them can be very harmful. Polluted environments are associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases in seniors. 


Leukemia is a deadly disease caused by air pollution. In polluted air, benzene vapors cause leukemia, a type of blood cancer. This disease is characterized by uncontrolled growth of white blood cells (WBCs) with the result that red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets are crowded out.

Air pollution reduction strategies 

Pollution has unavoidable consequences. In order to minimize its effects, we must adopt measures to prevent them, including.

  • When outside, wear a face mask and use a car air purifier to keep air fresh.
  • Keeping air-purifying  at home and planting more trees around your neighborhood.
  • Cracker-bursting is discouraged.
  • Taking public transportation more often.
  • Aim to avoid toxic fumes and products that harm the environment. 

While these things might seem insignificant, if implemented on a societal level, they can have a significant impact. Here are some steps we can take to protect our senior citizens from the effects of air pollution.

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