published 12 September 2018
It is now common knowledge that air pollution has debilitating effects on one’s health. But just how bad are the debilitating effects? Read on to learn about some of the more common diseases caused by air pollution.
This is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airway. Asthma affects people of all ages but more commonly, it starts during the childhood. The symptoms for asthma may differ from person to person but include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing (a whistling sound when your breathe), and, of course, coughing.
While the exact cause of asthma is unknown, what we do know is that exposure to airborne substances (like pollen, dust mites, and pet dander) as well as air pollutants can trigger the symptoms.
2. Lung Cancer
Overwhelming evidence has shown that particle pollution in the air — like that from emissions from factories and car exhausts — can cause lung cancer. Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, which do not develop into healthy lung tissue. Instead, they divide swiftly and form tumours.
As these tumours increase in both size and quantity, they adversely affect the lung’s ability to provide the body with oxygen.
According to a study by Mark Loeb, MD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, prolonged exposure to high levels of the pollutants found in car exhaust fumes and industrial air pollution causes hospitalisation for pneumonia in elderly aged 65 and older.
Pneumonia is an infection of either one or both of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This affliction is potentially life-threatening and the most common symptoms include coughing, fever, sweating, chills, shortness of breath and chest pain.
4. Cardiovascular disease
Harmful air pollutants are known to cause artery blockages leading to heart attacks and death of heart tissue because of oxygen deprivation, which causes permanent heart damage.
5. Birth defects
Sadly, exposure to air pollution just before or after conception (the first month) can also increase the risk of the child being born with birth defects, for examples, cleft lip or palate or abnormal heart.