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How air pollution impacts different parts of the body
Health and Fitness Tips
Air pollution can affect your overall health
Depleting air quality has become a major environmental and health issue in recent times. Post-Diwali, owing to the crackers and stubble burning, pollution levels have only reached an alarming high, with AQI levels becoming more severe than ever in Delhi NCR.
While health officials continue to urge people to take all precautionary measures, due to the combined misery of harmful, unbreathable air and smog, people have been battling several health complications. Not only do air pollutants harm our lungs, but it also takes a severe toll on other parts of our bodies. That said, let us look at how air pollution can affect our health in different ways.
Air pollution can cause respiratory distress
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90 percent of the global population is breathing in polluted air, which comprises harmful gases and particles that can be detrimental to our lung health.
When we breathe in air pollutants, we expose our respiratory tracts to tiny, harmful particles that can irritate our airways and cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthma episodes and chest pain.
Over time, exposure to air pollution can develop other health issues, affecting our heart, brain, skin and other vital organs.
Breathing in polluted air may cause heart problems
Heart conditions such as cardiac arrest and heart attacks are the leading cause of death, as per the WHO.
Experts believe that there is a direct association between air pollution and plaque build up in the coronary arteries, which supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart.
When you breathe in air pollutants, the particulate matter can get absorbed in the bloodstream, which then travels to various organs of the body.
As and when you breathe in polluted air, the immune responses think that the air pollutants are bacteria and trigger a response that causes the arteries in your heart to narrow down and muscles to weaken, making you more prone to heart attacks.
High levels of air pollution may pose risk to brain functions
As of now, neurological conditions such as strokes, dementia and impaired cognitive abilities have been linked to air pollution.
Recent studies have suggested that harmful, polluted air may in fact impact brain functions in the most rigorous ways. Some research has claimed that high levels of air pollution may damage children’s cognitive abilities, increase adults’ risk of cognitive decline and possibly even contribute to depression.
Your skin can be impacted too
Repetitive exposure to air pollutants can damage your skin too. It is supposedly the largest organ in the body, the first to be exposed to any kind of external pollutants. Air pollution is believed to induce oxidative stress, which in turn leads to acne, wrinkle, and eczema in kids.
Eye problems to watch out for
As far as air pollution is concerned, your eyes can also be vulnerable to it. The symptoms may vary from person to person. While in some it may show no signs, others may experience dry eyes, discomfort and even irritation. Especially when your eyes are exposed to ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), it may lead to conjunctivitis too. Those who wear contact lenses are more prone to such complications.
How to stay safe?
At a time, when air quality is more severe than ever, wearing your masks and maintaining proper hygiene is of utmost importance. Given that the air outside is extremely toxic, going out for a breath of fresh air is not an option. Stay indoors and resort to at-home exercises and switch to home remedies to fight off any symptoms of cold or flu.