Poor Air Quality Leads to an Increased Risk of Lung Disorders

Mumbai: Poor air quality is becoming an increasingly concerning issue in Mumbai Metropolis. Unhealthy levels of air pollution have been linked to a variety of health conditions, particularly respiratory illnesses. A recent study has found that individuals with existing lung disorders are at an even greater risk of developing illnesses due to poor air quality index (AQI).

Mumbai, a bustling metropolis and the capital of Maharashtra in India, has seen its air quality worsen to a “very poor” rating. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for Mumbai has crossed the 300 mark, which is considered to be a “very poor” level of air quality. This puts the city’s inhabitants at risk of suffering from respiratory illnesses and other adverse health conditions.

According to recent reports from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Mumbai’s AQI levels is not good. The AQI is reported daily by SAFAR and is calculated using pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Air pollution has been identified as a major environmental health hazard, with adverse consequences for physical and mental well-being. Pathogens, toxins, and other pollutants from air pollution are known to cause an array of ailments ranging from acute respiratory infections to chronic cardiorespiratory diseases. These illnesses are a direct result of exposure to various agents present in polluted air, including particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other toxins.

Those living in cities with higher levels of air pollution are more likely to suffer from respiratory illness. The most at-risk individuals include children, elderly adults, and people with existing lung conditions. The quality of air that we breathe has a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. Unhealthy levels of air quality can lead to an increase in lung disorders, such as asthma.

Dr Chhaya Vaja, General Physician of Apollo Spectra Hospital in Mumbai said, “Air pollution has adverse effects on physical and mental health. Toxic pollutants in air pollution cause many diseases ranging from respiratory infections to heart disease. People living in cities with high levels of air pollution are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases. Individuals most at risk include children, older adults, and individuals with weakened lungs. The quality of the air we breathe affects our overall health. Unhealthy levels of air can lead to an increase in lung disorders such as asthma.”

Dr. Chetan Jain, Pulmonologist and Internal Medicine Expert, Zynova Shalby Hospital said, “Along with the growing population in Mumbai, air pollution due to continuous construction work, vehicular fumes, industrial pollution, and fossil fuel, as well as waste burning and deforestation, has increased and all these impair one’s lung function. This causes respiratory problems along with diseases like allergic bronchitis, asthma, and COPD. There is also a surge in the number of patients with allergic bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In children, pollution stunts lung growth and increases the risk of respiratory diseases later in life. Avoiding exposure to pollutants while traveling or exercising, as well as using a mask is helpful. Due to the increase in pollution, especially small children, pregnant women, and old people breathe bad air in their lungs and their lungs become weak.”

Dr Tanvi Bhatt, Pulmonologist, SRV Hospital Chembur said, “Increasing pollution day by day is making our lung condition worse with Mumbai having the worst Air pollution index numbers. Patients at risk during such bad air pollution index during the winter season are the ones with allergic disorders, Asthma, Bronchitis, and COPD. Breathing exercises like Pranayama and spirometry-graded exercises for those with lung conditions are recommended. Avoid outside food as it contains ingredients that can cause allergies. Plant more trees around you, opt for a cloth mask or /scarf during travel, avoid going for jogs on roads during morning hours, and walk/jog in lanes with trees around or in parks/gardens. Asthma patients should carry their reliever inhalers to work while they travel through polluted areas. Drinking warm water/green tea after reaching the workplace helps in relieving throat congestion while traveling when the air quality is poor.”

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