Smog is a mixture of many components. This hazardous mixture is very dangerous for health and can lead to many serious health issues. Smog is a combination of various emissions that occurs in summer only or some specific climatic conditions. The mixture includes pollutants of industrial and various vehicles, combustion of organic substances and much more other burnings lead to the formation of smog.
Ozone, the protection layer of our earth is only good until it is in the upper atmosphere. It is hazardous if come in contact with the human being. Ozone, when formed in the lower atmosphere, generates smog which when coming in contact with a human being can lead to very dangerous health issues. Smog formed from mixing of sunlight with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides (chemicals in the atmosphere) is known as photochemical smog. Following is an overview of some major diseases caused by smog.
Ischaemic Heart Diseases
Ischaemic heart disease (Coronary Heart Disease or Coronary Heart Disease) causes when blood supplying arteries of the heart become narrow. Ischaemic refers to the condition in which an organ of the body does not receive enough oxygen or proper blood. Those who inhale emissions like smog regularly are at high risk of suffering through this disease.
Many studies have shown that both short term and long term exposure of smog can lead to increment in risk of strokes. It is a kind of medical condition which can lead to death due to a lack of blood flow in the brain. It hinders the brain to function properly. Strokes are mainly of three types:
- Hemorrhagic Stroke: when an artery breaks or leaks blood causes a hemorrhagic stroke. The pressure increases in the brain than the normal pressure in the brain due to the leakage of blood.
- Ischemic Stroke: Most strokes are ischemic and it causes due to the blockage of the artery which supplies blood (with a high density of oxygen) to the brain.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (the sign of mini-stroke): the blood flow in the brain is blocked only for a very short time. That is why it is called a mini-stroke. It is a sign that there can be a major stoke in the future. Treating transient ischemic attacks can decrease the risk of serious strokes in the future.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD)
Long exposures of hazardous pollutants can damage your lungs. It is common in smokers but non-smokers can also suffer through chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (due to regular exposure of emissions forming smog). It blocks the airflow, reduces the breath and leads to cough which contains sputum.
Even though it is true that lung cancer is mostly caused by regular smoking but studies have also shown that regular exposure to smog can also cause lung cancer. Polluted air (smog) can cause DNA changes and can cause lung cancer. The regular exposure of smog can lead to lung cancer because such pollutant changes the cells in the lungs. Lung cancer is very hard to recognize until it spreads in other parts of the body. Many studies are still unable to recognize how particles in smog can change the DNA to such an extent that it can cause lung cancer.
Acute Lower Respiratory Infections
Acute lower respiratory infections or pneumonia includes acute bronchitis, influenza, and whooping cough. Children are more prone to infections in the lower respiratory. Severe damage to acute lower respiratory can also cause tuberculosis. Lower respiratory infections are more serious than upper respiratory infections and that is why the lower respiratory system is at higher risk of getting affected by smog.
Reducing the life span
Regular exposure to smog can reduce the normal life span of a human being to a high extent. It leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, pain when breathing, increases mucus production in both nose and throat, chest tightness, eye irritation, headache, low energy (feeling tired all the time), irritation in throat and coughing.
Smog particles are very small in size and can be easily inhaled increasing the risk of death. Inhaling dangerous particles like a particle of ozone tightens the arteries reducing the blood flow.
Smog is really dangerous for the health of a human being. Everyone should avoid exposure to smog. Stay hydrated if you are exercising or avoid exercising at first. Pollutants released by different vehicles also contribute a lot to the formation of smog. So everyone should also avoid driving vehicles which help in reducing smog. Children and senior citizen especially those with heart problems are at higher risk of getting affected by smog. Always remain updated with the regular forecast so that you can start preparing for your protection against smog. It is high time and a red alarm for all human beings that our environment’s air is no safer and is getting hazardous to breathe.