Studies have shown that air pollution can play a role in the development of cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes and the cardiovascular effects of air pollution can lead to heart attack and stroke. Researches in the field point out that insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes suffered an increase in likelihood on exposure to air pollution hence, it is important to understand that pollution affects not only the lungs but other parts of the body as well and people suffering from chronic lung diseases or allergic to any indoor and outdoor environmental factors are prone to recurring infections, allergies and other respiratory ailments.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Zafar Ahmad Iqbal, Pulmonologist at Fortis, shared, “Children and elderly people are at a higher risk of pneumonia and patients who already suffer from COPD, asthma, allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, experience exaggeration of their condition due to air pollution. These conditions also escalate over time and lead to other health conditions like heart failure and stroke.”
He advised, “People who are already suffering from any lung conditions must avoid direct exposure to air pollution by covering their faces before going out. Indoor pollution is one of the most common forms of air pollution that can harm the body. Therefore, one must always switch to using LPG or induction gases to avoid any indoor fumes. It is recommended that people suffering from comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes and chronic lung diseases must get scheduled vaccination for influenza and pneumonia to avoid any risk in future.”
There are enough studies to support that there is a direct impact of air pollution on other organs which can cause life-threatening conditions like cancer and cardiovascular problems. Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director and HOD, Chest and Respiratory Diseases at BLK Max Hospital, suggested, “One must make individual efforts to take care of their lungs and keep an eye on the persisting symptoms. Based on the condition of the patients, we also suggest some precautionary medications to avoid any risk to the patients.”
He added, “It is recommended that one must stick to their medications even when they feel better and get into the habit of routine check-ups. Staying hydrated and following a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in managing the risk of these conditions. Due to the continuous change in climate, one must always wear the right type of mask while going out as it may trigger breathlessness and other prevailing lung or heart conditions. Lastly, one must also manage the air quality around their vicinity and install air purifiers inside their homes for a better option.”