The air we breathe can have a big effect on heart and brain health. Polluted air, such as smog or wildfire smoke, can lead to heart disease and trigger heart attacks and strokes especially in people already at risk. Learn how air quality is tied to cardiovascular disease and how you can stay healthy indoors and out doors.

Sometimes air pollution is obvious, but often the air is full of things we cannot see, including tiny particles. Particles can be solid or liquid and can form naturally or as a result of car exhaust, industry, or wildfires. Some particles are so small (much thinner than a human hair1) that they can get into your lungs and bloodstream, putting you at risk of heart attack and stroke.1

Worldwide, more than 9 in 10 people are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution, mostly from road traffic, industrial emissions, and burning of fuels for heat or cooking.The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution causes more than 3 million deaths each year.Air pollution may cause up to 200,000 early deaths each year in the United States.3

As the weather warms and people spend more time outside, everyone should learn how to Be Air Aware during Air Quality Awareness Week (May 1–5, 2017) and beyond.


Credit: iStock, bo1982

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