Respiratory Health Issues in India
Smoking ‘may’ look cool on the outside, but it definitely is killing your lungs on the inside. Bursting crackers ‘might’ give you few minutes of joy, followed by months of pollutants in the air. We must start looking at the bigger picture rather than doing without thinking. Along with increase in consumption of tobacco each year, there has been a staggering increase in respiratory diseases in India as well. On top of that environmental air pollution further adds to the woes.
- Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (COPD)
One of the most serious pulmonary diseases, COPD is a tricky one to diagnose as well. It has common symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing. It is often ignored as ‘part of the ageing process’. However, COPD can even develop without any symptoms and usually hits people in 30s – 40s and elevates on reaching 50s – 60s. Unlike other illnesses, COPD can only be reduced and not reversed as it keeps worsening with time.
Triggered by an infection in the air sacs of the lungs, Pneumonia is more likely to affect either young children or people over 60. Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, are common seen symptoms. Vaccinations are available and must be taken, esp. in case of older people. Pneumonia is communicable disease which can also be life – threatening in some cases.
Swelling of bronchi (air passages between mouth, nose and lungs) leads to bronchitis. Cigarette smoking is considered its most common cause. While acute bronchitis lasts for some days or weeks, chronic bronchitis can even take years to treat. Major symptoms include chest tightening, head and body aches, blocked nose and cough with mucus. Bronchitis can worsen during winters. Effective treatments include oxygen therapy, use of humidifier and even breathing exercises.
Extremely commonly seen illness, Asthma is an inflammation of the airways of the lungs and can cause panic and difficulty in doing physical tasks. Fatigue, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing (esp. at night), tightening in the chest are main indications. An asthma attack can get triggered by allergies, high emotions and air pollutants. Keep prescribed inhalers or nebulizers or anti-inflammatory medicines at close distance.
- Quit smoking and steer clear from passive smoking too
- Raise awareness and talk about the consequences of chronic respiratory diseases in your social circle
- Drink lots of fluids and practice a physical sport
- Cover your face and body while going out; esp. while walking or in a 2 wheeler
- Increase antioxidants in your diet
- Practice breathing exercises
- Do your bit to lessen air pollution in any manner you can
Every breath counts!
It is high time that we stop taking respiratory diseases so lightly, and start working together in unity as a nation. We need to raise awareness and make sure that more government policies and schemes are incorporated to eradicate these diseases and effective steps taken to reduce air pollution.