Health

Air pollution can significantly aggravate asthma

India's unique imperatives- high incidenc of poverty, poor nutrition levels, underlying diseases, extremely high pollution further enhance the health risk of citizens

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 17 September 2018
Asthma
Credit: NIAID/Flickr Credit: NIAID/Flickr

In just five years, India has seen a 30 per cent increase in acute respiratory infections. No wonder that most pulmonary physicians tell us that the air we breathe is not safe and most Indians are gasping for good quality air.

Respiratory diseases causes serious debilitating conditions that comprise the quality of our life, result in untimely death and have huge health costs.

While genetic factors play a role in shaping respiratory health, environmental factors make us more vulnerable. Experts warn that air pollution can trigger new cases of asthma and aggravate existing conditions. Air pollution significantly harms lung development and enhances lung diseases later in life.

What is asthma?

It is a chronic respiratory disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs.

There are many triggers to asthma attacks, including dust, smoke, pollen and volatile roganic compounds. The swelling in the airways causes the respiratory tract shrinks. A patient experiences problems in breathing, and others like stiffness in the chest and cough.

Reasons and symptoms

If you have asthma, your airways are always inflamed. Triggers make them even more swollen. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, for many asthma sufferers, timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. Healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising, called exercise-induced asthma.

Treatment

Read the tips by Sanjeev Bagai, Manipal Hospital to know what to do days that are severely polluted.

While there is no cure for asthma, once diagnosed and a treatment plan is put in place you will be able to manage your condition. You don’t have to worry as it is manageable.

The Union environment ministry may have maintained that there is no direct correlation between air pollution and death or even disease, but there is enough evidence to show the health of Indians is adversely affected by air pollution. A study by the Central Pollution Control Board says that one in three children in Delhi have impaired lungs.

Air quality improvement can improve lives, like seen in the US.

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