We all know air pollution isn’t great, right? But HOW MUCH do we actually know about the effects of air pollution on our health?

According to the World Health Organisation – you know the people I’m talking about (they’re all over the COVID fiasco), a whopping 20% of people suffer from heart disease as a result of air pollution. Air pollution may be invisible, but that’s the problem! It’s invisible to your body’s defense system too – pollution particles sneakily slip past to damage your lungs, brain and very importantly your heart. It creates a devastating cycle of inflammation, scarring and more inflammation until your blood pressure skyrockets and your arteries narrow until you get a heart attack or stroke.

To be honest, when it comes to air pollution, I’ve simply avoided the thought all together, because what can I really do about pollution? It’s not as simple as reducing my sugar intake or incorporating more exercise. Or is it?

What’s great is that there are experts and activist groups working on our behalf to combat these problems. But what can we do?

One thing we can do, is reduce how we contribute to air pollution, in an effort to create a safer environment for both the next generation and ourselves. Finally, we actually have some control over how the pollution affects us: by staying as healthy as possible. People who practice good health habits (I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate) and appropriately manage their existing health conditions are actually at less risk to be affected by air pollution. But if that isn’t good enough for you, investing in an indoor air-purifier may be a more expensive alternative. But whatever you do, don’t ignore this invisible threat.

By Dr. Jennifer Delport