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How Dangerous Is Air Pollution?

If you are someone who lives in a city, especially a cosmopolitan city, then you would surely feel like covering up your face with a mask each time you step out, right? This is because the air outside is filled with dust and pollution, making it very uncomfortable for people to experience.

As we may already see in the news, many cities today are under high alert for excessive air pollution.

The Dangers Of Air Pollution

The toxic gases and smoke released by the industries, vehicles, etc. have increased lately, due to the effect of urbanization and the cities becoming overpopulated.

So, the air pollution has also increased, especially in the last decade. When there are toxic compounds in the air that we breathe, every second of every day, naturally, we would be prone to health complications.

Here are some of the serious health problems caused by air pollution.

1. Affects Heart Health
2. Damages Lungs
3. Causes Infertility In Men
4. Increases The Risk Of Autism
5. Weakens Bones
6. Causes Migraines
7. Damages Kidneys

1. Affects Heart Health

A recent research study conducted at the Duke University has stated that exposure to even 2 hours of air pollution on a daily basis, especially in an area with dense vehicular traffic, can have a negative impact on the heart, in the long run. The pollutants in the air can damage the tissues of the heart once they get into the body and can cause diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which could be fatal, when not detected in the early stages! In addition, air pollution can also cause the arteries to stiffen, which can be one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks in people.

2. Damages Lungs

Perhaps, one of the main health hazards caused by air pollution is disease and damage of the lungs. This is because, once a person inhales the pollutants in the air, they directly reach the lungs first, before any other organ of the body, through the respiratory system. When the toxic pollutants damage the tissues of the lungs, it could cause diseases such as asthma, a collection of tar in the lungs (even in non-smokers), respiratory disorders and even lung cancer.

3. Causes Infertility In Men

Research studies have found that in the past decade, the infertility rates in both men and women have increased significantly because of various lifestyle-related causes. In men, regular exposure to air pollution is also known to be one of the leading causes of infertility. Studies conducted at the Chinese University in Hong Kong state that the pollutants in the air can give rise to poor quality sperm and abnormally shaped sperm in men, which in turn cause infertility.

4. Increases The Risk Of Autism

Yet another recent research study has opined that when a pregnant woman is exposed to constant air pollution, there is a very high risk of the child being born with autism, a major developmental disorder which hinders the ability to communicate, learn and lead a normal life. The exact reasons as to how and why air pollution can cause autism is still being researched; however, experts say that the toxins in the air can get into the pregnant woman's system, reach the foetus and cause certain permanent changes in the chromosomes, causing autism in the infant which is born.

5. Weakens Bones

A research study published in the journal, The Lancet Planetary Health, suggests that being exposed to heavy air pollution or living in smog-filled areas can severely affect the bones by weakening them. The study found that people exposed to constant air pollution were at a higher risk of developing bone disorder like osteoporosis and were also more prone to fractures from minor falls. The black carbon content in the polluted air is known to be the main cause for this negative effect on bones.

6. Causes Migraines

Migraine is a fairly common condition, which causes a chronic headache, along with other symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, etc. A research study conducted at the Hartford Healthcare Headache Center has stated that people living in heavily air-polluted areas have reported to having more instances of migraine headaches and have even been hospitalized for the same. This is said to happen because of the toxins in the air creating hormonal imbalances that trigger migraines.

7. Damages Kidneys

Health hazards of air pollution are commonly associated with lung damage by laymen; however, it is a fact that air pollution can harm the kidneys too. Research studies conducted at the Washington School Of Medicine state that since 2004, at least 2.5 million people have been affected by kidney diseases, due to the effects of air pollution! When the kidney has to work extra hard to flush out all the toxins collected in the body by inhaling the polluted air, it could become weak and damaged over time.

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