Wednesday, March 5, 2008

HEPA Filters in the Home Found to Significantly Improve Overall Health

Bad eating and inactivity are known contributors to vascular disease, or endothelial dysfunction. When you factor in an unhealthy environment and genetics, the odds of developing diseases of the blood vessels exacerbates.

A recent study has found that using a HEPA filter in the home significantly lowered the biomarkers that lead to vascular and microvascular disease in healthy older adults.

The study participants all lived in highly trafficked areas and were between 60 and 75 years old. All were in relatively good health. Inflammatory markers were measured after two 48 hr. exposures to indoor air filtration; improvement in endothelial function was an impressive 8.1%. Now researchers are wondering what improvement might be seen for those who already have diabetes and vascular disease.

Dr Steffen Loft (University of Aarhus, Denmark) and colleagues published the study in the February 15, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Loft says, “I think this improvement is something like what you might expect from a well-working drug. A lot of research suggests that particles from outdoor air affect vascular function, especially at high doses. We wanted to see whether the concentration of airborne particles in a regular, normal home would be sufficient to cause similar effects, so we removed them, and indeed we found they had [adverse] effects."

Normal vascular function is necessary for overall health and well being. The integrity of our blood vessels protects us from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes. Once endothelial function is compromised things obviously only get worse, making this study especially noteworthy. Finding ways to improve health, without, or as an adjunct to medications, is always welcoming.

It is mentioned in the study that the type of HEPA filtration system used is pretty expensive. Nevertheless, Dr. Loft is seeking funding to study the technology in patients who are already at high risk.

Does anyone see the benefit of focusing on the quality of our air to improve health and well being? Maybe it’s just too late or too massive an undertaking. Sometimes I think we’re on a merry-go-round. It’s like taking a plow horse to the Kentucky Derby. ◦