Staying fit is now a life goal for many people. But in between ‘sips of green tea’ and ‘post-workout glow’, you might be forgetting about the prime health hazard- air pollution!
Air pollution has been hampering human existence for decades now, and according to several studies, initially it was only a threat to the respiratory system. However, it has broadened its impact with time, resulting in serious health concerns like obesity, immunity and neurological disorders, heart diseases, diabetes, asthma, etc.
A 2013 assessment by the World Health Organization’s IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) describes it as a ‘human carcinogen’ causing lung cancers as a result of dangerous air pollutants. Thus, understanding air pollution and major diseases triggered by it is important. We are also mentioning a few tips on minimizing its effects by the end of this article.
What is Air Pollution?
You might think you know what air pollution is, but there is always some vital information yet to be discovered. A vicious blend of human-made and natural substances is generally the reason for air pollution, but what you don’t know is its essential elements.
Taking you through the human-made substances, vehicle emissions, power plants, chemical production, natural gas generation, industrial boilers, etc. On the other hand, natural substances include but are not limited to wildfires, volcanic eruptions, methane, poisonous gasses, smog, etc.
One of the seriously affecting substances is Particulate Matter (PM), created by a mixture of chemicals and vehicle discharges. It is considered to be a primary pollutant spawning several health diseases. Adding to the critical elements of air pollutants is the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon that also has carcinogenic properties. It is a deadly combination of Carbon and Hydrogen which is generally caused by industrial processes.
Who is significantly affected by Air Pollution?
Air pollutants can be harmful to all ages of human beings, especially with the unbelievable rise of harmful combinations of ‘air pollution and lung cancer’ and ‘air pollution and cardiovascular disease’. However, many reports indicate people living in urban areas, especially senior citizens and toddlers, are mainly affected by air pollution.
Five Major Diseases Caused By Air Pollution
Claiming millions of lives over decades has been a serious consequence of ever growing air pollution. Thus, minimizing its effects should be our foremost concern. Before looking at the the tips on minimizing its life-threatening effects, we must understand the types of diseases caused by air pollution:
The most common health hazard of air pollution in human beings is Asthma. It is a condition where the person finds breathing to be a tedious task due to excessive mucus production. A person might also face issues like chest pain, heavy heartbeats, and cough in severe cases. Air pollutants like PM, ozone, and sulfur are the main substances causing this disease. Continuous asthma attacks are also believed to be the reason for weak immune and lung functionality.
- Lung Cancer
Carcinogenic properties of air pollutants with smoking habits are the triggering factor of lung cancer in many senior citizens. In this scenario, the patient is faced with unusual cell growth in the lungs, leading to partial or complete damage to the breathing system. Depending on the stages of cancer, it is only curable with self-precautions and surgeries.
- Cardiovascular Diseases
As shocking as it may appear, air pollution and cardiovascular disease are among the most dangerous threats in the emerging health concern list. PM and multiple toxic substances result in several short-term and long-term side effects like mini heart attacks and heart failure. Artery blockages and sudden strokes are common symptoms of patients with heart diseases due to air pollutants.
Polluted air in urban areas also contains benzene vapors, which, if inhaled regularly, can cause leukemia- a blood cancer. In this case, the WBCs in the blood are produced heavily, hampering the creation of RBCs required for a healthy body.
Tips for minimizing the side-effects of Air Pollution
In this article, you have learned about all the crucial factors of air pollution and the deadliest diseases caused by it. We would now take you through some essential tips that will help you in fighting against the ill effects of polluted air because it’s impossible to avoid it completely:
- Using environment-friendly and biodegradable products.
- Use face masks or covers in outdoor spaces.
- Quitting smoking habits.
- Using air purifiers in houses and offices.
- Minimizing the usage of personal vehicles.
- Banning crackers and planting trees.
All said and done, keeping our health a top priority is a must especially when we are living in a polluted environment. In this article, we spread awareness about the infected air that we breathe everyday, and most importantly how we can assist ourselves and the loved ones to be safe. Stay tuned for such healthy facts and tips; till then take care!