Global temperatures are rising. Harmful fumes from sources such as industry waste and vehicles are polluting the air we breathe with harmful particulate matter, resulting in dire health consequences. Air pollution can be gaseous, smoke (from fire, etc) or dust particles. In fact, according to the World Health Organization report, polluted air kills approximately seven million people annually through the host of serious illnesses it causes.
Polluted air is an issue that almost all cities fall prey to, with harmful microscopic particles making their way into our respiratory and circulatory systems, causing harm to organs including our hearts, lungs and even the brain. Here are the pollution-related diseases that are seeing city-dwellers face modern-day health crises.
Air pollution can trigger attacks in asthmatics, leading to sick days off from work and school for those who suffer from the condition. Tiny pollutant particles in the air are known to worsen asthma symptoms, and the likelihood of sufferers having acute asthma episodes increase when pollution levels are high.
Exposure to air pollution causes an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Particulate matter in the air is thought to cause lung cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers and a leading cause of death from the disease.
Lung Development Damage
Children who are exposed to air pollution are at risk of it stunting their lung development, which can have serious long-term consequences as they grow into adulthood with compromised lung function. Breathing in polluted air can also make children (and adults to a lesser extent) more prone to lung infections.
Those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will find that being exposed to dirty air makes it even harder to breathe. Patients may need hospitalization and the effects can even cause fatalities.
Irritation To Lungs
Air pollution doesn’t just worsen the symptoms of chronic ailments. Even if you are healthy, your lungs can still be affected. Pollution can cause wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Air pollution can cause lung tissue to get irritated and swell. Those who suffer from lung and respiratory diseases are especially affected.
With all the disease risks it increases, experts in the medical field have linked exposure to polluted air to premature death - this involves both short- and long-term exposure.
Unfortunately, escaping air pollution is next to impossible - according to the WHO estimates, around 90% of people worldwide breathe polluted air. However, we can strive to live healthier lives by taking charge of what is in our control. That is, strengthening our immune systems by getting all the appropriate immunizations to fight against harmful but vaccine-preventable illnesses that can have debilitating short- and long-term effects on the body. Eating healthy, balanced meals, filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and exercising regularly can also contribute to healthier living.
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