Air pollution has become the trendiest and major health concern involving serious and long-term health effects. Air pollution, the introduction of harmful substances into earth’s atmosphere, leads to serious health hazards. There is an alarming rise in number of patients’ with respiratory infections, heart disease, COPD, stroke and lung cancer. Children aged less than five years are more vulnerable population in terms of total deaths due to air pollution problems.
Major diseases caused due to air pollution are-
1. Cardiovascular diseases
Air pollution is the major risk factor for stroke. It is also associated with increasing incidence and mortality from coronary stroke. This is because of the vasoconstriction, low-grade inflammation and atherosclerosis.
Higher activity level will increase the deposition fraction of aerosol particles in human lung. The risk of lung cancer increases for patients who live in areas with high nitrogen oxide concentrations. Air pollution is also related to cervical cancer and brain cancer.
Asthma is majorly caused due to air pollution. It is a chronic disease, it is an occasionally debilitation inflammatory disease of the airways that is caused by air pollution. Ground level ozone, sulphur dioxide, fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides commonly trigger asthma. Also second-hand tobacco smoke causes asthma.
4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
A person having COPD will lose the shape of his airways and air sacs, and these become floppy. Low levels of ozone and fine particulate matter will increase a person’s hospitalization risk for pneumonia and COPD. Long-term exposure to automobile exhaust and dash increases the risk of poor functioning of the lungs. Chronic exposure to diesel emissions will also lead to lung cancer, heart and COPD related death.
Air Pollution also causes headache, irritation in eyes, nose, mouth, and throat and reduces our energy level.
How to Protect Yourself?
• Choose the routes that avoid busy traffic streets as air will be more polluted in busy roads than on quiet residential streets.
• Do not smoke and avoid going to places where people smoke.
• Avoid using gas-powered machine, instead use electric or battery-powered machines
• Eat more foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene.
• Include vitamin E and C in your diet.
• Early detection is the best prevention. Get yourself tested for lung and other respiratory diseases.
Try to think about the ways to clean up the air around you. Try using public transports like bus or train, avoid bursting crackers, try walking or cycling. Or carpool with your neighbours. Make people around aware of the problems that air pollution causes and start preventing it. Stay healthy and pollution-free!