February is “American Heart Month.” How Is Your Home Water Quality Impacting Your Cardiovascular Health?
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February is American Heart Month, a time for many Americans to pause and consider how their lifestyle, diet, and family history might affect their cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States. Additionally, the healthcare costs of heart disease are staggering: the CDC reports that heart disease costs $219 billion dollars annually, and these expenses are often felt most acutely by patients and their families.
During American Heart Month, public health professionals, doctors, researchers, and lifestyle experts might suggest a variety of personal solutions to the problem of heart disease: diet changes, exercise, medication and personal awareness, among others. Unfortunately, none of these personal solutions can solve a big, and dangerous culprit in the broader picture of why so many Americans get sick with heart disease: contamination in drinking water.
A number of studies have strongly linked arsenic in waterways as well as lead contamination to increased risk of cardiac disease. These contaminants have also been linked to increased risk of asthma and diabetes, which are themselves often risk factors for cardiovascular illness. This is an urgent problem that affects more Americans than you might think — it is estimated that well over 18 million homes in the United States are serviced by lead-contaminated water lines.
To make matters worse, Black, Brown and Indigenous people are at significantly higher risk for cardiac disease than white people. Disparities in our public health systems, our healthcare systems, housing, and economic opportunity can partially explain this health inequity. Additionally, comorbidities like asthma and diabetes are also more prevalent in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods.
But the role that water contamination plays in sharpening these inequities is undeniable. Water contamination disproportionately affects communities of color and low income communities to alarming degrees, and this inequity can help to explain why Black people in particular suffer at disproportionate rates from cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and other severe health complications.
Every American deserves the right to drink, cook with, and bathe in clean, safe water— no matter what their zip code, and no matter what their family background. And they deserve to know what’s in their water, so that they can protect their health and the health of their family.
At Aquagenuity, American Heart Month is more than just a reminder to hit the gym or eat healthier foods. It is a reminder that our water systems are worsening the dramatic and deadly effects of heart disease, and that those effects are being felt disproportionately by Black and low-income communities.
This Heart Month, join us at Aquagenuity to fight back against these inequities. We want to help empower your family to make safe and informed decisions, and to give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to keep your heart healthy and strong for another year.
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