Air pollution is the most problematic and the major environmental effect that leaves a big imprint on human health. It is the main cause of several life-threatening effects. The most dangerous aspect of air pollutant is that everyone in the world is exposed to it and we need it to survive. Breathing polluted air creates a risk for human health and high exposure to it can affect lungs and respiratory systems. The people working and living near the source of air pollutants, for instance, industrial and vehicular emissions are mostly exposed to the harmful effects of air pollution. As per World Health Organization, approximately 2.7 million people die each year from the diseases caused by air pollution.
Pollutants Present in Air
Pollutants that are present in the air are lead, nitrogen oxide, ozone, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxides. These contaminants can cause some harmful effects by entering your body through the respiratory tracts and lungs and get absorbed in our bloodstream. It is the primary cause of several life-threatening disorders. Some of the problems that one can face due to air pollution are lung cancer, paralysis, skin infections heart problem and etc. Getting exposed to deteriorating air quality can also cause health effects like COPD, asthma, Tuberculosis eye problems etc.
Most Harmful Diseases Caused Due To Air Pollution
There are several diseases caused due to air pollution. According to National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, long-term exposure to air pollutants increases the risk for respiratory diseases. NIEHS also reported that children and elder people are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution. Some of the most harmful diseases for human health that can be caused due to are:
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that is caused due to the exposure of high level of air pollutants like ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. Air containing sulfur dioxide narrows the airways in the lungs and makes breathing a harder process even for healthier people thereby triggering Asthma.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease, which is spreading quickly due to increase in the level of air pollutants. COPD refers to the repetition of the respiratory problems like bronchitis. Smoking has also been recognized as the primary factor in the development of COPD.
Cystic Fibrosis is a harmful disease, which increases with long-term exposure to air contaminants. This is also a hereditary disease that affects the mucous glands including the lungs. Thick areas of mucous in lungs allows several types of bacteria to grow there and this can cause lung infections and breathing problems to patients.
Lung cancer is a disease that can be caused by air pollution. The disease is caused even due to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of the lungs. If not treated in the first phrase, the abnormal cells develop into a tumor. This is when it damages the lung’s primary functions to supply the human body with blood and oxygen.
The brain is depended on oxygen supply and 20% of the oxygenated blood is directly supplied to the brain, which comes directly from the heart to meet the demands. Decreased oxygen content in air leads to loss of memory in some cases.
In addition to the above-mentioned problems of air pollution, there are others as well and these are mentioned below:
- Premature Death: Breathing unhealthy air can shorten your life and this can lead to early death
- Cardiovascular Diseases: Long-term exposure to polluting air can increase the risk of heart attack and strokes
- Low Infant Birth Rate: Inhaling pollute air can increase the risk of low infant birth weight
- Irritation to Eyes: Exposure to polluted air can cause irritation to eyes and nose. It may also cause allergies as well
How to Stay Protected from Air Pollution?
There are many ways that you can stay protected from air pollution. These are like planting more trees, wear a mask when you are outdoor, burn less fuel and etc. Another option to this problem is to use an air purifier. This can help purify the indoor air and make it fresh to breathe in. There are many traditional health treatment systems like Yoga, Ayurveda and Homoeopathy have various means of treating the different types of respiratory diseases caused due to air pollution. Yoga has simple breathing exercises called ‘Pranayam’ that have proven results.