Iowa DNR endorses healthy heart month

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DES MOINES — Healthy air quality plays a major part in preventing heart disease according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Fans of "This is Us," a popular primetime show, know smoke from a house fire led to main character "Jack's" deadly heart attack. Although this was a fictional account, it illustrates how high levels of air pollution can impact an otherwise healthy person.

“Helping people and their doctors become aware of the importance of clean air and how to reduce exposure to air pollutants is our goal as we join EPA during Heart Health Month,” said Catharine Fitzsimmons, chief of DNR’s air quality bureau.

“We want to help people realize air pollution can affect heart health, trigger heart attacks and strokes, and increase risks for vulnerable people, she added.

Fortunately, Iowa’s businesses have significantly reduced air pollution by 41 percent over the last 25 years, making Iowa one of the states that seldom has air pollution alerts.

Still the Iowa DNR recommends vulnerable people, including the elderly, the young and especially those with heart disease, check the Air Quality Index before exercising outdoors or traveling to other parts of the U.S. The Air Quality Index shows air quality forecasts, using a color key to alert people of potentially unhealthy air quality.

Visit EPA’s Healthy Heart webpage to learn more about how you can protect your heart.

“Because clean air is critical for the one in three American adults with heart or blood vessel disease we encourage Iowans to protect their hearts from air pollution and to inform their health professionals of air quality resources they can use,” Fitzsimmons added.

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