Air pollution: Why So Many non-smokers are Undergoing Severe Lung Disease

air pollution

Naresh Kumar, who lives in New Delhi, had never smoked tobacco in his life. He didn’t have a heart ailment either. However, for the last many days, he has observed that it has been quite hard for him to breathe. When his health didn’t improve, the 58-year-old Delhiite visited to consult a pulmonologist.


Kumar was disturbed to know that he was suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a growing disease of the lung that is effected largely due to smoking.


Pulmonologist Dr. Vivek Nangia of Fortis Hospital, though, wasn’t shocked at the finding. “COPD amongst non-smokers isn’t rare anymore. For the last two to three years, I have been attending various such matters,” Dr. Nangia told TOI. He stated that normally COPD amongst non-smokers is connected to continued exposure to biomass fuel or industrial pollutants, but the patients we see have been shown to neither of the two. “We assume continued vulnerability to huge levels of outside pollution behind the rise in COPD amongst non-smokers,” Dr. Nangia declared.


COPD is a growing life-threatening lung disease that produces breathlessness. Preventing vulnerability to toxic factors — like outdoor pollutants or tobacco smoke — may happen while passing in lung function and slow or even stop the progress of the condition. Though, according to a WHO report, once developed, COPD and its co-morbidities cannot be healed and thus must be operated continuously. According to AIIMS director Dr. Randeep Guleria, there isn’t sufficient data accessible on various individuals undergoing from COPD in India who are non-smokers. “It is likely possible that long-term exposure to outdoor pollutants can trigger the disease. Small children, who reside in cities like Delhi where the level of pollution is increasing through most parts of the year, are most exposed. We understand for a fact that air pollution harms lung growth and it can surely lead to COPD and other severe respiratory complications if the danger to pollutants continues to be increasing,” he stated.


COPD is not curable, but medication can reduce symptoms, recover the quality of life and decrease the risk of dying. The founder of interventional pulmonology & sleep medicine at Max Super Specialty Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, Dr. Inder Mohan Chugh, told frequently people ignore breathlessness and coughing as a sign to old age. But, raising breathlessness is a red sign for COPD. “COPD is most noticeable throughout winters. The impact of cold climate on the lungs can be severe and chronic illness to cold environments is known to generate dramatic and dangerous changes to the respiratory system. Therefore, one must visit a specialist in the event there is a particular sign showing COPD. A mere spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test) test conducted in time could save lives,” Dr. Chugh told.

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