HYDERABAD: Air pollution and its adverse effects on human health are well documented. A recent study has revealed that air pollution could not only aggravate asthma but also cause asthma cases among children.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system, caused by inflammation of the airways. It is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
The study conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) collated asthma incidence rates among children between the age group of 1 and 18 years in Barcelona and concluded that 48 per cent of the cases every year could be attributed to air pollution.
Speaking to Express, Dr Krishnamurthy, HOD of Pulmonology Department, Gandhi Hospital, said, “Asthma is primarily an allergic respiratory disease. So when air pollutants are inhaled, they cause multiple chain reactions in our respiratory system. This eventually causes bronchial spasm and an increase of mucus secretion. This, in turn, can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath or asthma, especially among children.”
He added that multiple studies have proved that air pollution can aggravate asthma. “In the last 10 years, there have been at least a 10-15 per cent increase in asthma cases among children in the city, due to increasing air pollution. As there was very little awareness earlier, people did not know the adverse effects of air pollution. But now we do.”
Another pulmonologist said that air pollution is not only harmful to people who have asthma, but also makes ones who don’t have it susceptible to the condition.
The study also claimed that if the guidelines of World Health Organisation (WHO) for maximum air pollution exposure levels were met, up to 19 per cent of childhood asthma cases attributable to the fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and 18 per cent attributable to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), could be prevented each year.