Climate Change and Air Pollution Health

5 Ways Climate Change and Air Pollution Can Affect Your Health

As we delve deeper into the future, the issues of climate change and air pollution continue to wreak havoc on society in a myriad of ways. While some dismiss these phenomena as being inconsequential, they are actually taking a significant toll on society in ways that most of the public is unaware of. Understanding the ways that these issues are impacting your health is key to staying healthy in our evolving world.

Here are five ways climate change and air pollution can affect your health.

1. Climate Change Impacts Mental Health

Though the environmental impacts of climate change can be terrible, they are far from the only impact that climate change can have on you. Believe it or not, climate change can actually harm your mental health in significant ways. This being the case, it’s important to gain an understanding of how climate change and mental health are connected.

Some common ways that climate change negatively impacts mental health include:

  • Anxiety about the future: Given the incredibly harmful impact that climate change is having on the environment, those well-versed in the subject often feel acute stress about the future of humanity. This can cause chronic stress and, if left untreated, can evolve into more severe mental health ailments.
  • Stress about changing environments: As many have noticed over the past several years, climate change is altering our environments. For those who live in places that are undergoing drastic change, this can cause an immense amount of stress that affects one’s sense of wellness.
  • Trauma from climate change-related disasters: Unfortunately, climate change-related natural disasters are beginning to occur more frequently. For those who experience these natural disasters, it can be incredibly traumatic. As a result, it’s possible for people in these cases to develop post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious mental health ailments.

2. Air Pollution Impacts Cardiovascular Health

While many associate air pollution with respiratory health problems, it can also have a dire effect on your cardiovascular health. This is because particles in the air can travel through the lungs and enter your bloodstream and cause extreme inflammation. When this happens, your chance of experiencing a heart attack or stroke is heightened.

In addition to having a negative impact on healthy individuals, air pollution can exacerbate symptoms in individuals already suffering from preexisting cardiovascular ailments. This means that the environment can become extremely dangerous to a portion of the population who are already at risk of experiencing health problems.

3. Climate Change Can Cause Heat-Related Illnesses

In many areas throughout the world, climate change is increasing temperatures substantially. For these impacted areas which are already warm, this can have catastrophic effects. Specifically, this can cause a spike in heat-related illnesses that can harm communities in a variety of ways.

Some common heat-related illnesses include extreme dehydration, sunburns, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. If left untreated, these ailments can become more severe and exacerbate symptoms of other preexisting conditions.

4. Climate Change Disproportionately Affects Marginalized Communities

Though climate change can have a devastating and harmful impact on all people, it’s been shown to have a disproportionately negative impact on marginalized communities. This is especially true when it comes to low-income communities affected by climate change.

When middle to high-class people are displaced from their homes due to climate change, they typically have enough resources to relocate to another place. For those from low-income communities, this is far from the case. These individuals are far more likely to become homeless as a result of climate change. For those from these marginalized groups, climate change can negatively impact health in a variety of ways stemming from displacement.

5. Air Pollution Can Increased Your Risk of Developing Cancer

While medical treatments and technologies such as CT lung screening have made leaps and bounds over the last several decades, cancer is still an extremely dangerous disease that can be difficult to treat. Unfortunately, being exposed to air pollution on a regular basis can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Obviously, this is incredibly harmful and a major cause for concern in many major metropolitan areas with a large amount of pollution.

Some specific air pollutants that are commonly found in big cities are supposed by specialists to be carcinogens. This means that simply by living in certain geographical areas, you may be increasing your risk of developing certain types of cancers as a result of the air you breathe. Consequently, being in a heavily polluted area can be extremely damaging to your health by increasing your risk of developing cancer.

Climate Change and Air Pollution are More Harmful Than They Seem

While many people are aware of some of the main negative aspects of climate change and air pollution, fewer are aware of how many varying ways these phenomena negatively impact health.

By becoming more aware of the dangers that come with them, you are in a better position to safeguard yourself from the harmful aspects. Hopefully, as time goes on, more and more people will take a stand to combat climate change and air pollution along with the harmful effects they bring with them.