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We have heard of air pollution leading to chronic respiratory disease, lung infection and asthma. But have you heard of air pollution causing severe mental health problem? Well, not many people know about it.
A new study has found a link between toxic air and psychological distress and that air pollution may be bad for your mental health.
The higher the level of particulates in the air, the greater the impact on mental health, researchers said. "This is really setting out a new trajectory around the health effects of air pollution," said Anjum Hajat, from the University of Washington in the US.
During the study, scientists have identified "social determinants" of physical and mental well-being, such as availability of healthy foods at local grocers, access to nature or neighbourhood safety.
Air pollution, too, has been associated with behaviour changes - spending less time outside, for instance, or leading a more sedentary lifestyle - that can be related to psychological distress or social isolation.
6,000 respondents were taken into consideration for the study. Researchers then merged an air pollution database with records corresponding to the neighbourhoods of each of the 6,000 survey participants.
The team zeroed in on measurements of fine particulate matter, a substance produced by car engines, fireplaces and wood stoves, and power plants fuelled by coal or natural gas.
The study found that the risk of psychological distress increased alongside the amount of fine particulate matter in the air. Fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter) is easily inhaled, can be absorbed into the bloodstream and is considered of greater risk than larger particles.
The study was recently published in the journal Health and Place.
Meanwhile, listed here are a few of the major side-effects of air pollution that you need to know. Take a look.
1. Severe Respiratory Problem:
When you are exposed to air pollution, the particulate matter gets into the system as you breathe in and out. This can lead to severe respiratory problem and affects your breathing. This can lead to severe cough as well.
2. Affects The Lungs:
Breathing in polluted air for a long period of time increases the occurrence of lung problem. This has been proved by several studies. It is highly important to keep yourself away from pollution in order to save the lungs from getting affected.
3. Stress To Heart:
There is a link between air pollution and increasing heart problem. Pollution has been found to have an inflammatory effect on the heart. If not taken care then it might lead to serious cardiovascular problems. When the pollutants enters through your lungs it not just affects the lungs but affects the blood vessels as well. This is turn can be harmful for your heart.
High pollution can irritate your airways. This can make breathing difficult and thus increases the chances of having an asthma attack. Also for those who are already suffering from asthma it is best to remain indoors and keep themselves away from the effects of pollution.
(With Agency Inputs)