Common Diseases Caused by Air Pollution in Senior Citizens
There are numerous diseases caused by air pollution, leading to severe diseases and other ailments in senior citizens. Air pollution is the reason behind thousands of deaths annually. Senior citizens are highly vulnerable to such air pollution diseases. While we cannot completely bypass the harmful effects of air pollution, there are still some policy measures and steps to minimize the same.
7 Common Diseases Caused by Air Pollution in Senior Citizens
Here are some of the diseases caused by air pollution as mentioned below:-
- Asthma: Asthma is one of the biggest air pollution diseases and hinders breathing owing to excessive mucus production through airways which are swelled, narrowed or inflamed. Along with breathing difficulties, people also face other symptoms such as wheezing, cough, pain in the chest, irritation in the throat, faster heart rates and shortness of breath during the night. Asthmatic individuals face issues with ground-level ozone counts along with particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulfur, along with tobacco smoke as well. Those senior citizens with asthma face multiple problems in going about their day-to-day activities. For management of these conditions, doctors usually recommend self-care, medication and other care including oxygen therapy.
- COPD: If you were still wondering whether breathing in polluted air causes disease, then you should learn more about COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Out of multiple ailments arising due to pollution, COPD is one of the commonest ones. It leads to inflammation in the lungs, hindering airflow and making it tougher for people to breathe. Another reason behind COPD is smoking tobacco. Other symptoms include respiratory infections, loss of weight, energy loss, tightness in the chest, wheezing, chronic coughing and more. COPD leads to widespread lung damage and is aggravated more by chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Weaker Lung Functioning: It is one issue that may bring in more ailments like lung cancer and pneumonia. Senior citizens will witness issues in functioning of various body mechanisms with the onset of age. Lung capacity of senior citizens may steadily reduce with air pollution enhancing overall vulnerability. Breathing in polluted air only contributes towards weaker lung capacity of senior citizens, inviting more such respiratory diseases.
- Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is one of the biggest ailments arising from pollution. There are various carcinogens contained in air which may negatively impact the lungs upon being inhaled and leads to lung or pulmonary cancer as well. The primary reason behind this cancer is smoking tobacco and seniors with this habit are highly vulnerable in this regard. The disease is accompanied by abnormal cell growth in the lungs, leading to severe fluctuations in oxygen-carrying capacity of the lungs and results in the respiratory system malfunctioning periodically. Some signs include voice changes, shortness of breath, pain in the chest, lymph node swelling and wheezing among others. Lung cancer is either non-small cell lung cancer or small cell lung cancer. The bigger the stage, the tougher it is to manage. The treatment procedure covers medication, medical processes, surgeries and other specific care systems.
- Cardiovascular Ailments: Particulate matter in air includes various liquid and solid particles and other poisonous elements which stay suspended, making them dangerous upon inhalation. Senior citizens getting exposure to such environments will have more risks of cardiovascular ailments. Some common ailments include strokes, blockages in the arteries, heart tissue withering, arrhythmias and more.
- Leukemia: Leukemia is another potentially-fatal disease happening due to air pollution. This is a specific blood cancer type and happens due to prolonged exposure to benzene vapors in air which is polluted. The white blood cells start going up hugely and surpass red blood cells and other platelets which are needed by the body. Leukemia comes in various types including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, lymphocytic leukemia and also acute myeloid leukemia. Some signs include headaches, fatigue, loss of weight, vomiting, sweating at night, shortness of breath, bleeding/bruising, bone pain, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and chills or fevers.
- Pneumonia: It is one of the biggest ailments happening due to air pollution. With this ailment, air sacs get more inflamed in the lungs and may fill up with pus or fluid. In spite of being an ailment which commonly impacts the respiratory tract, it may turn fatal if it is not treated suitably. Those above the age of 65 are highly vulnerable towards contracting pneumonia since they will have a weaker immune system, leading to the disease taking place owing to viruses and bacteria. Some of the signs include shortness of breath, coughing with mucus or phlegm, vomiting, nausea, appetite losses and more. Treatment includes specific antibiotics and medication along with more care and even penicillin whenever required.
What are some of the symptoms of pneumonia?
Some of the pneumonia symptoms include phlegm or mucus-based coughing, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and some more. This condition is characterized by treatments like penicillin, antibiotics and other medication.
What are the types of leukemia?
Leukemia is another disease happening due to severe air pollution. It has various types including lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and also acute myeloid leukemia. There are common symptoms for these types as well.
How can we reduce the impact of air pollution?
We can lower air pollution levels through taking steps like using face masks outdoors, installation of air purifiers, planting more trees and greenery, telling people to refrain from bursting crackers, using public transportation more frequently and avoiding usage of toxic products.