Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Delhi pollution: How smog can affect your heart?

While Delhi already has the status of being one of the most polluted cities of the world, this has been reinforced in the last few days with the thick blanket of smog enveloping the city. The pollution levels are 15 times more than the threshold indicated by the World Health Organization. The AQI has reached a peak of 451 which is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes a day! With such alarming levels of pollution comes the risk of various health hazards and complications in those with existing health conditions such as heart and respiratory diseases.

Some of the most common symptoms of pollution include irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest tightness; and shortness of breath. Those with heart problems can experience pain in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Inhaling toxic air can also trigger cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks. Here’s more on the symptoms of smog.

 Speaking about this, Dr TS Kler, Chairman, Pushpawati Singhania Heart Institute, New Delhi, said, “Pollution levels are at an all-time high. This situation is particularly dangerous for those with existing heart problems and those susceptible to them. Breathing in high amounts of polluted air is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. If you are at a risk of heart failure, high levels of air pollution could make this worse. You might also feel the symptoms get worse if you have angina or atrial fibrillation.Continuous exposure to pollutants can also lead to plaque formation in the arteries thereby triggering heart attacks in patients at high risk. It is imperative to take certain precautionary measures while going out, especially in the wake of such pollution levels. While the government makes efforts to reduce pollution, one must also make efforts at an individual level.” Here’s more on how smog is affecting YOU!

Smog is a complex mixture formed by various pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and dust particles, which interact with sunlight to form ground-level ozone, leading to the build-up of haze that hangs in industrial cities. This is a high-alert situation for the city with children and older adults at high risk.

Adding further, Dr Kler, said, “High contents of particulate matter PM 2.5 air pollutants less than 2.5 micron in size can be absorbed and cause inflammation of the heart arteries. Exposure to pollutants also increases the risk of acute arterial vasoconstriction and atherosclerosis. Although nothing can prevent exposure to pollution in some way, some steps will ensure that this exposure is limited. This includes exercising in areas that are at least 200 meters away from roads, construction sites, and smoke-emitting industry, and not venturing out of the house when pollution levels are at their peak.” Here are simple ways you can lessen pollution.

 Some tips to cope with the increased pollution levels are as follows.

  • Patients with asthma, and chronic bronchitis should get the dose of their medicine increased during smog days.
  • Avoid exertion in conditions of smog. It is better to avoid walking during smog hours.
  • Heart patients should stop their early morning walk during smog hours.
  • Remember to take the flu pneumonia vaccine.
  • Keep doors and windows shut particularly during the early morning hours.
  • It is better to wear protective masks if you must venture out.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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