Bengaluru hospitals see more heart disease patients due to pollution

Bengaluru hospitals see more heart disease patients due to pollution

The city's unenviable seventh position among the metros with most air pollution could spell doom for its residents, as doctors fear it could increase the number of people with heart ailments.

Following the Lancet report - published on December 5 - which warned that a walk down a street with high air pollution may lead to a decline in the functioning of the heart and lungs, doctors said that the city's rapid climb up the pollution chart has already produced more patients.

The report had asked healthy people as well as those with cardiorespiratory diseases to avoid streets with high levels of air pollution since it curtails and even reverses the cardiorespiratory benefits of exercise.

"Around 20% of the severe cases of heart attacks admitted in ICU are due to air pollution," said Dr C N Manjunath, director and head of cardiology, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research.

Majority are drivers

He admitted that the number of patients with heart diseases due to air pollution has been on the rise each year, and a  majority of them are drivers.

City doctors also fear that pregnant women exposed to polluted air run the risk of delivering babies premature with low birth weight.

"Pregnant women who are exposed to air pollution may deliver babies who are likely to have cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension, especially because their cells are not completely formed," said Dr Manjunath.

Air pollution due to emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and tyres and brakes contain particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) that can travel through heart vessels and lungs and deposit themselves in the vessels.

Long-term exposure to pollution can lead to an increase in the rate of decline of lung functions even in non-smoking adults, said Dr Hirenappa Udnur, consultant pulmonologist, Columbia Asia Hospital.

Reduce fuel consumption

The only way to spare residents from a greater risk of heart disease, according to Dr Manjunath, is a drastic reduction in fuel consumption.

The central air pollution control board has ranked Bengaluru seventh in the list of metros with maximum air pollution.

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