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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Dr. Meredith McCormack and Professor Edward Avol join HLHP to talk about the health effects of transportation pollution.

Dr. McCormack begins by reminding listeners that when we think about our bodies exposure to the environment we think about the outside body. But when we breathe in pollution our whole body is at risk for serious health problems. Dr. McCormack goes on to unpack asthma, COPD, and lung cancer. While COPD is caused in large by smoking and found in adults, it is exasperated by air pollution. On the other hand, asthma is common in children and young lives are put at risk sitting in idling school buses. Of course, there is also a strong correlation between lung cancer and long term exposure to air pollutants from transportation.  Short term and long term exposures result in different conditions. Treatment and management is also important for these chronic lung diseases and cancers, but there are many things that can be done beyond medications. Solutions include reducing pollution, exercising, eating well, and avoiding vaping, e-cigs, smoking.

Professor Avol explains the process of pollutants entering our bodies. When we breathe in air pollution it enters our lungs and then our bloodstream. Anywhere our blood goes the pollutants go. This means pollutants can reach any and every organ and system in our body. Nanoparticles and gases are the infamous pollution combination. Focusing on the heart, heart disease does not occur in a vacuum and is impacted by our diets & environments. However, transportation pollution is a big contributor to heart disease and heart attacks. People with pre-existing conditions must be hyper-vigilant to reduce their exposure to transportation pollution. Dr. Avol also reminds listeners that air pollution impacts children even before birth & effects them forever. On the other side of life, elderly individuals experience an accelerated decrease in mental capacity in more highly polluted areas. Dr. Avol reminds listeners that lifestyle choices like running, walking, and consolidating car trips will reduce their exposure and risks.

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