Poor Quality of air not helping Asthma patients

tonsEvery year, tons and tons of articles are being written about the chronic lung disease, Asthma – and the growing concern that every year there is an increased incidence of Asthma, especially children all over the world due to increasing pollution.

In a 2010 report of a national survey in the US it was found that there was an increase of 15% in the number of cases with Asthma from 2001 to 2010, and that translated to 25.7 million Americans and they were still counting. Mind you- this was reported six years ago.
The chronic inflammatory condition affects people of all ages and the common triggers are known to be genetic in nature. However, smoking and stress are proven instigators of Asthma in people who have a tendency to develop the condition. In India, a poll conducted by ‘Curofy’ over the reasons for childhood Asthma, involving 1,040 doctors revealed that cases of childhood Asthma in India has risen in the last decade, and 7.24 percent of Indian children are at increased risk of this respiratory condition.

And among the doctors consulted 82% of them said that environmental pollution is the reason for growing prevalence of Asthma in children. In fact in the 300 million people suffering from Asthma, one-tenth of them are from India.

Going back to the 2010 US report, which was until then the largest study on children and Asthma funded by The Research Division of the Air Resources Board, performed in California, it was also found that children who were involved in outdoor sports activity in communities with high ozone levels, and those of them living near busy roads and exposed to higher levels of pollution were more at risk of developing Asthma and showed symptoms of bronchitis.

Year after year, and study after study, we are only discovering the ill-effects of pollution – increase of risk in Asthma patients being one such ill.

In fact a recent Greenpeace Analysis of NASA satellite data revealed that the dangerous air quality levels in India cities cites population as serious health risk. Especially Delhi, Agra, Kanpur and Patna are said to have pollution concentrations equal to that of China. The data further revealed that India has been the smoggiest ever last year with small airborne pollutants from the burning of coal, petrol and other waste recording the highest at 153 microgrammes per cubic meter in Delhi, while it was 92.4 in Beijing. And this is not just in Delhi, the outdoor pollution is a major problem in 15 out of 17 Indian cities, according to the report.
This far exceeds the safe level as recommended by WHO – 25, and evidently poses serious health hazard.
In Hyderabad, it may be a consolation that pollution levels are lesser when compared to bigger Indian cities (Air Quality Index as recorded in latter part of 2015 was at 91), it is still considered dangerous to elderly and the infants as the air showed a mix of fine particle matter and Sulphur Dioxide at (PM2.5). A look at the AQI of other cities – Delhi (321), Mumbai (126), Pune (211) and Varanasi (302), Bengaluru (59).
In short – while we continue to struggle and find methods to deal with Asthma and manage it so as to create good lifestyle for the sufferers; the worsening quality of air is only increasing the troubles, nullifying the medical efforts.

Medaram Jathara

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