As we get older, our bodies become a little creakier, our joints a little stiffer, and our immune systems a little more, well, let’s just say “seasoned.” But what if I told you that the very air you’re breathing right now could be the hidden culprit behind that nagging inflammation and those achy joints?

Brace yourselves, folks, because we’re about to unveil the link between indoor air quality and inflammation.

Let’s start with a harsh reality check: the air inside our homes and offices can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Yikes! And what’s worse, we spend a whopping 90% of our time indoors, breathing in all those little nasties!

From dust mites and mold spores to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide, our indoor spaces are like a pollution party that our lungs never asked to attend.

It’s a pretty scary thought, right? All this time, we’ve been diligently trying to eat right, exercise, and take care of ourselves, blissfully unaware of the hidden dangers lurking in the very air we breathe. And let’s be real, as we get older, our bodies become more susceptible to the damaging effects of these pollutants, making the link between indoor air quality and inflammation even more concerning.

Just think about it – have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt a little off? Maybe your eyes started watering, or your throat felt scratchy? That’s your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right with the air you’re breathing. And while these reactions might seem minor at first, prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to inflammation.

So, what can you do about it? Well, that’s what we’re here to explore. We’re going to dive deep into the nitty-gritty details of this hidden danger, uncovering the truth about the link between indoor air quality and inflammation, and give you the tools you need to breathe easy and keep those pesky inflammatory responses at bay. Get ready to take control of your health, one breath at a time!

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

So, why should we even care about this in the first place? Well, for starters, poor indoor air quality has been linked to a host of health issues, including respiratory problems, headaches, and even cancer. But what’s particularly concerning is its impact on inflammation.

You see, when our bodies are exposed to pollutants and irritants in the air, our immune systems go into overdrive, triggering an inflammatory response. This chronic inflammation can then contribute to a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, asthma, and even heart disease.



The Link Between Indoor Air Quality and Inflammation

But how exactly does poor indoor air quality lead to inflammation? Let’s break it down:

1. Particulate Matter(also known as PM2.5): Those tiny particles floating around in the air, like dust and smoke, can be inhaled deep into our lungs, causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Exposure to these pollutants can lead to immediate health problems like headaches, dizziness, and respiratory issues.

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): These pesky chemicals, found in everything from household cleaners to furniture, can also trigger inflammation in the body. Even all-natural, eco-friendly products contain VOCs, and they can still find their way into your indoor air.

When you breathe them in, your body goes into defense mode, seeing them as foreign invaders and setting off an inflammatory response. And before you know it, you’ve got inflammation raging through your body, causing all sorts of aches, pains, and discomfort. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of the products you use and to ensure proper ventilation in your home or office.

3. Mold and Allergens: Moisture in the air in our homes can lead to the growth of fungi which, if left unchecked, may lead to the development of mold. Mold spores and other allergens can set off an immune response, leading to inflammation in the airways and other parts of the body.

4. Stress Response: Breathing in poor quality air can actually trigger a stress response in our bodies, which can then lead to inflammation as a byproduct. This stress response prompts the release of  hormones like cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is part of the “fight or flight” response that prepares your body to deal with perceived danger.

In the short term, this stress response can be helpful by providing a burst of energy and heightened alertness. However, when you’re continuously exposed to poor indoor air, the sustained release of cortisol takes a toll.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels initiate systemic inflammation throughout the body as a way to combat the presumed ongoing threat. This inflammatory state aims to remove harmful substances but can sadly become overactive and start attacking healthy cells too.

The inflammation triggered by the stress response affects breathing passages, joints, digestive system, blood vessels, and even organs like the heart and brain. Common symptoms include wheezing, swollen joints, fatigue, headaches, and general achiness.

What’s more, the persistent stress weakens the immune system over time, making you more vulnerable to viral infections and chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s like our bodies are constantly on high alert, trying to fend off these invisible creatures, and the end result is a whole lot of inflammation — which is something we don’t want!

How Can You Improve Air Quality

Now, before you start panicking and investing in a full-body bubble suit, let’s talk about what you can do to fix this problem.  It’s not super complicated — here are some easy ways to get started.


The Link Between Indoor Air Quality and Inflammation: Infographic om HOW YOU CAN IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Breathe Easy with These Tips:


  • Open Those Windows: This is crucial! A little fresh air can go a long way toward reducing pollutants and possible airborne diseases. Open your windows regularly to let in some much-needed ventilation.
  • Invest in Air Purifiers: These nifty devices can help remove pollutants, allergens, and other nasty particles from the air you breathe. HEPA or UV-C air purifiers can help capture those fine particles and neutralize airborne pathogens.
  • Go Green with Houseplants: Not only do they add a touch of nature to your space, but houseplants can also help purify the air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen. A recent study found that houseplants can help clean the air in small spaces.
  • Ditch the Chemicals: Opt for natural, plant-based cleaning products and avoid using harsh chemicals that can release VOCs into the air.
  • Vacuum and Dust Regularly: This helps to keep allergens and particulate matter at bay. Vacuums with HEPA filters have been shown to capture airborne particles reducing dust and indoor allergens.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels: Mold and dust mites thrive in humid environments, so keep an eye on those humidity levels and invest in a dehumidifier if needed. Shoot for humidity levels in the recommended range of 30-50% to help reduce mold and virus growth.
  • Consider an Air Quality Monitor: These handy devices can give you a heads-up when pollutant levels are rising, so you can take action before inflammation strikes.

By taking these simple steps, you can breathe easier, reduce inflammation, and potentially avoid a whole host of health issues down the line.

Conclusion: The Link Between Indoor Air Quality And Inflammation

Listen, we all know that getting older ain’t for the faint of heart. Our bodies start to rebel, and those little aches and pains become a daily reminder of our mortality. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By addressing the link between indoor air quality and inflammation, we can take control of our health and potentially avoid some of the more unpleasant side effects of aging.

The great thing is, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to make a difference. Small, consistent changes can go a long way in improving your indoor air quality.

Start by being more mindful of the products you use in your home and opting for natural, plant-based alternatives whenever possible. That air purifier might seem like a splurge, but it could be a worthwhile investment in your long-term health and well-being.

And let’s not forget the power of nature’s own little air-purifying machines – houseplants! Not only do they add a touch of green zen to your space, but they also help filter out pollutants and pump out fresh oxygen. It’s a win-win situation!

At the end of the day, taking steps to improve your indoor air quality is about more than just breathing easier – it’s about taking control of your health and embracing a future free from the grip of chronic inflammation.

So, open those windows, invest in some greenery, and maybe even treat yourself to a fancy air purifier. Your lungs (and your joints) will thank you.

And who knows, you might just find yourself breathing a little easier and feeling a whole lot better. Here’s to a breath of fresh air and a future free from inflammation! Your body (and your joints) will thank you for years to come!

Do you have any hacks you use to improve the air quality in your home? Leave a comment and let me know!


***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***


  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.

    View all posts