Thursday, March 3, 2016

Air pollution can lead to preterm birth in asthmatic mothers

Air pollution can lead to preterm birth in asthmatic mothers

With the soaring pollution levels in the Capital, IMA urges citizens to do their bit to reduce air pollution

New Delhi, March 3, 2016: The ill effects of air pollution on respiratory health are well-known. Now, a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that when pregnant women with asthma are exposed to high levels of certain traffic-related air pollutants, they face a greater risk of preterm birth.

The increased risk is associated with both ongoing and short-term exposure to nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide particularly when women were exposed to those pollutants just before conception and in early pregnancy.

An increase of 30 parts per billion in nitrogen oxide exposure in the three months prior to pregnancy increased preterm birth risk by nearly 30 percent for women with asthma, compared to 8 percent for women without asthma. Greater carbon monoxide exposure during the same period raised preterm birth risk by 12 percent for asthmatic women, but had no effect on preterm birth risk for non-asthmatics. The last six weeks of pregnancy was another critical window for women with asthma. Exposure to high levels of particulate matter — very small particles of substances like acids, metals, and dust in the air — also was associated with higher preterm birth risk.

The study was published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Sharing details, Dr SS Agarwal, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President HCFI and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “People with asthma who are concerned about exposures to air pollution may want to limit their outdoor activity during periods when the air quality is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to work towards the reduction of environmental pollution given its serious effects on one’s overall health and well being. If each one of us takes simple environmental friendly steps such as carpooling, discouraging the use of fire-crackers, planting more trees around our houses, the pollution levels can be brought down and several diseases prevented.”

Other Harmful Effects of Air Pollution:
1.      Air pollution affects respiratory system causing breathing difficulties and diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer, tuberculosis and pneumonia.
2.      Air Pollution affects the central nervous system causing carbon monoxide poisoning. CO has more affinity for hemoglobin than oxygen and thus forms a stable compound carboxy haemoglobin (COHb), which is poisonous and causes suffocation and death.
3.      Air pollution causes depletion of ozone layer due to which ultraviolet radiations can reach the earth and cause skin cancer, damage to eyes and immune system.
4.      It causes acid rain, which damages crop plants, trees, buildings, monuments, statues and metal structures and also makes the soil acidic.
5.      It causes greenhouse effect or global warming which leads to excessive heating of earth's atmosphere, further leading to weather variability and rise in sea level. The increased temperature may cause melting of ice caps and glaciers, resulting in floods.
6.      Air pollution from certain metals, pesticides and fungicides causes serious ailments.
·         Lead pollution causes anemia, brain damage, convulsions and death.
·         Certain metals cause problem in kidney, liver, circulatory system and nervous system.
·         Fungicides cause nerve damage and death.

·         Pesticides like DDT (Dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane) which are toxic enter into our food chain and gets accumulated in the body causing kidney disorders and problems of brain and circulatory system.

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