You’re doing a lot of things to keep your heart healthy. You eat right. You exercise. You don’t smoke. Are you paying attention to air quality? If not, today’s the day to start.
Air pollution – especially particle pollution -- is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Exposure to fine particles has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and early death in people with heart disease.
What can you do? Do everything you’re supposed to for good heart health. And pay attention to the Air Quality Index (AQI) – especially if have heart disease, or if you’re at greater risk of a heart attack (including men over 45 and women over 55).
When the AQI forecast reaches Code Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) make some adjustments to your exercise plans. Walking instead of running, or weeding your garden instead of moving a lot of heavy mulch, are just a couple of examples of things you can do to reduce the amount of pollution you breathe in when you exercise. And always exercise away from busy roads if you can: particle levels generally are higher in those areas.
Don’t wait for symptoms to tell you if particles are affecting you: your first symptom could be a heart attack.
For more information on the Air Quality Index, see AirNow.gov
For more on a healthier environment for healthy hearts, see www.epa.gov/greenheart.