Recently, after the Sahara dust smog hit parts of London, there was a 14% rise in calls to emergency services by people suffering from COPD or asthma as reported by BBC and London Ambulance Services.
Initially, burning coal was considered to be a pollutant whereas now, it also includes modern factories, industrial plants and diesel car emissions which contains toxic gases namely nitrogen dioxide. When these pollutants combine in the air, it pollutes the air badly which is now visible and we inhale varying levels of it every day.
Emphysema and air pollution
When these smaller particles are inhaled, they go deep inside the lungs. Once inside the lungs, multiple health problems can occur. They may cause immunological responses and inflammation.
Lung diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) including emphysema and bronchitis occur due to it. These pollutants have the ability to surpass the cell barriers and enter the blood stream thus reducing the immunity and forming blood clots. Further, it can also add to cancer, chest infection, diabetes, heart conditions and strokes.
Whichever place we live in, we are always exposed to air pollution. With advancement in technology, the impact on health has also increased manifold. As the sources of pollution can be varied, the associated risks can be higher as well.
The air pollution can make the asthma and COPD symptoms worse and can increase the risk of an attack. It is important to take precautionary measure and take certain basic safety tips as told by Asthma UK such as :
- Keeping reliever inhaler handy at all times
- Taking preventive inhaler as prescribed by your certified doctor
- Knowing what is to be done in case of an attack
- Staying vigilant
Depending upon your health condition, your medical practitioner may prescribe Spiriva (tiotropium bromide) to you. The bronchodilator may help in relaxing the lung muscles and widening the airway. To avoid any serious side effects, it is to be taken only if it is prescribed to you.