Air pollution affects not only the lungs but also the brain and heart: Doctors said.

(Payal Banerjee)

New Delhi, November 5 (Language) As the air in Delhi is seriously affected, the city’s doctors have cautioned the people that air pollution not only affects the lungs but also affects the health of people of all age groups like heart and brain. Also affects other major organs.

Dr. Neeraj Gupta, head of the department of respiratory medicine at Safdarjung Hospital, told PTI that air pollution can cause headaches, anxiety, irritability, confusion and cognitive decline, especially in sensitive populations like the elderly, school-going children and pregnant women. There has been a sudden increase in cases of reduction in capacities.

“Neurocognitive ability is directly linked to increased levels of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air as they affect the nervous system,” he said.

Dr Gupta said that therefore ‘gas chamber’ is technically a correct term used to refer to increased concentrations of harmful gases and not just particulate matter.

Gupta said a study conducted among school-going children in North Carolina showed that the Air Quality Index (AQI) has a direct impact on their mathematical abilities.

He said the only way out is therefore to avoid exposure to this toxic air, especially for vulnerable populations and patients with pre-existing conditions like asthma, ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’ (COPD) and heart disease related to reduced blood flow. One should try to stay indoors and take preventive measures.

Toxic smog remained prevalent in Delhi for the sixth consecutive day on Sunday. Pollution levels once again reached the “severe-severe” category due to adverse air conditions, especially calm winds during the night.

The AQI in Delhi deteriorated further to 460 at 7 am on Sunday as compared to 415 at 4 pm on Saturday.

Doctors said hospitals in the city have been witnessing an increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory complications for the past few days.

Dr. Randeep Guleria, former director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said that several studies have linked air pollution to increased risks of stroke, dementia and cognitive decline.

Guleria is currently the Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Medanta Hospital.

He said that there is an urgent need to take concrete action to reduce the level of air pollution.

Guleria said that every winter the air quality falls to poor levels and there is a lot of discussion on it but no concrete action is taken.

“Along with prolonged cough, difficulty breathing, throat infection and chest tightness, patients are complaining of anxiety, confusion and increased irritability,” he said. This air pollution is a big crisis which needs to be curbed immediately.

Language Netrapal Prashant


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