Ignorance causes respiratory diseases?

In what can be seen as terrible consequences of rising air pollution, an average of 23 people die every day due to respiratory diseases, reveals a data by Delhi government.

Call it the side-effects of burgeoning vehicles or increase in the number of industries, citizens are apparently paying a heavy price for the deteriorating air quality. Doctors say the degrading quality of air has led to spurt in asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disorders (COPD) and bronchitis patients in the City. 

“Yes, there has been an increase in the number of patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases like COPD and aggravated asthma.  It is air pollution that causes early onset of the symptoms of these diseases” says Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant respiratory diseases, Apollo Hospital. “The statistical figures is a rough estimate because there are many diseases which are directly or indirectly related to respiratory problems. However, it cannot be denied that people are constantly reporting frequent nasal discharge and irritated cough. The reason is undoubtedly gas emission from vehicles and cigarette smoking which is harmful for lungs.”

However, Dr Vinita Mittal, Medical Director, Urgent Care believes that bronchial asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia are the major life threatening respiratory illnesses which are adding to the number of patients with lung diseases. “Whenever we inhale polluted air, microscopic particles settle down in our lungs. Breathlessness is an early symptom of the disease. It can be an infectious or allergic problem too. So, it is advised to visit a doctor immediately before it turns into another problem.”

She says, “Ignorance is the main cause which makes a disease life-threatening. If someone is detected with a respiratory problem, he/she should never leave a treatment in between. However, many a time people pretend to be ignorant. It is incorrect and harmful to leave your treatment mid-way after getting temporary relief.”

Doctors say it might be a bit difficult to save ourselves from polluted air but simple measures can help to keep respiratory diseases at bay. “Avoid movement during peak hours of traffic, keep the windows of the car closed while stuck in a traffic jam, get your lungs examined once in six months even if you feel healthy and protect yourself from harmful gas emission and dust by covering your face,” says  Rajan.

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