The hidden way dirty air affects us

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Health

Dirty air is filled with pollutants that cause harmful or toxic effects and even alter the healthy bacteria inside the body. Air is becoming dirtier by the day because countries are industrialising, and industries release toxins in the form of machine fumes or waste.

The hidden ways dirty air affects us causes many damages including.

Alteration of the gut microbiome:

Billions of bacteria make up the gut microbiome, and scientists have been trying to understand the way they affect health. There is much to learn about the way microbiome interacts with the vital organs and systems of the body, but it is widely accepted that factors like diet contribute to changing it.  An emerging theory is that air pollution is one of the elements that can trigger debilitating diseases in the gut. It is becoming common due to the deteriorating air quality in cities around the world. 

A microbiome is dynamic but might change in life due to exposure because there is a lot of interplay between the gut and things we are exposed to. Exposure to elements such as dirty air triggers inflammatory bowel disease including conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These are lifelong health conditions without a known cure. The cause is improper functioning of the immune system causing the body to start attacking the bowel resulting in inflammation in the gut and ulcers.

Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease:

Vehicle fumes cause pollution; research shows that older adults living in areas with a lot of traffic are at more risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease than those living at cleaner sites.

Alzheimer’s progresses to cause a kind of brain damage making patients suffer from:

•    Memory loss

•    Language ability

•    Thinking ability

•    Behavioural changes

A shocking thing about Alzheimer’s is that the effects show in old age, but researchers believe that they develop many decades earlier. This shows that even the younger people who face continuous exposure to dirty air are at more risk.

Increased stress hormones:

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body controlling many essential activities. Stress hormones enable people to react faster when they are in life-threatening situations; for example, you’ll get an instinct to open a window and jump out of a burning room. Breathing dirty air triggers the same reaction to emergencies and adds stress to the body even when it is for a short moment. Inhaling fine particles in the air according to a study conducted in China pollutes the lungs. This type of pollution is one of the most dangerous as it linked to an increase in the risk of contracting these medical conditions:

•    Diabetes

•    High blood pressure

•    Heart disease

•    Stroke

Poorer attention:

Fluctuations in air pollution might vary and cause similar changes in the functioning of the brain. Researchers found that air pollution reduces the attention of kids when they are learning. They used computer tests that required participants to pay attention such as watching the direction that a fish swam to. Kids got poor scores on days when researchers exposed them to some air pollutants.

Air pollution is rife; environmentalists, health organisations and the government should determine ways to eliminate air pollution. People should also know that the indoor air quality is not cleaner if the air outside is polluted.

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