A Spike In Incidences Of Toxic Air Impacting Lungs In Metros

Mumbai: The polluted air in Mumbai and other metros not only causes asthma flare-ups, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or whooping cough but also lung cancer. The harmful air pollution in most major cities is taking a toll on the respiratory health of both non-smokers and tobacco users, leading to a surge in cases of lung cancer. It is the need of the hour to protect the lungs by being proactive and wearing masks, eating a well-balanced diet, use air purifiers, doing deep breathing exercises, and not venturing out of the house when the air quality of your area is poor.

Air pollution is undeniably connected to the increasing occurrence of lung cancer in individuals who do not smoke, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The Five major air pollutants are Ground-level ozone (O3), Particle Pollution (also known as particulate matter, including PM2.5 and PM10), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

Dr Sundaram Pillai, Surgical Oncologist at Zynova Shalby Hospital Said, “Air pollution is one of the significant factors leading to  lung cancer. The toxic chemicals and particulate matter present in polluted air can penetrate deep into the lungs, leading to inflammation and damage to lung tissue over time. Additionally, exposure to fine particles and pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide can trigger oxidative stress and DNA damage within the lungs, ultimately increasing the risk of developing cancer.  Air pollution has been found to not only initiate but also promote the growth of tumors in the lungs. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer mortality.”

“Air pollution is harmful to health as the fine particulate matter and toxic gases  are inhaled by people. These pollutants trigger inflammation and oxidative stress in the lungs, leading to a variety of respiratory issues such as asthma exacerbation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis,  and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. Furthermore, long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to a higher risk of developing lung cancer, eye infections, and cardiovascular complications due to the effects of pollutants on the body.  Children growing up in highly polluted areas are more likely to experience stunted lung development, making them more vulnerable to respiratory diseases as they age,’’ Dr Chhaya Vaja, Internal Medicine Expert, Apollo Spectra Mumbai.

“Every day 10 to 15 patients come to the OPD for respiratory problems due to air pollution. Therefore, in this changing environment, citizens need to take care of their own health. One effective way to tackle air pollution-related health problems is by investing in air purifiers for indoor spaces. These devices can help filter out pollutants, allergens, and other harmful particles, creating a cleaner and healthier environment. Additionally, incorporating more plants into indoor spaces can also improve air quality, as they naturally filter out toxins and produce oxygen. Another crucial strategy is to advocate for stronger environmental regulations to reduce industrial emissions and vehicular pollution. When the air quality in your area is poor, it’s important to stay indoors, wear masks, maintain a balanced diet, use air purifiers, and practice deep breathing exercises to keep the lungs healthy and happy,” concluded Dr Rishabh Raj, PulmonologistLilavati Hospital. 

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