We long for fresh air and a pleasant day in a serene place after living amidst rushing traffic & polluted roads. We go to hill stations to experience chillness or visit our villages for greenery. The presence of blooming flowers and clean air has become a dream for those living along the countryside with such heavy traffic in the roads-every family these days owns a car and a two-wheeler! There is more carbon dioxide present in the Earth than in the 1960s and people are ready to pay huge sums to breathe clean air for an hour! Air pollution is one of the biggest problems today that has a direct impact on asthma rates and respiratory problems. We have numerous studies prompting on the impact of air pollution on the health of individuals and now we are going to look at its impact on the future generation! For more details on how air pollution affects quality of life of adults please visit www.firsteatright.com.
The Pressing Issue of Depression Due to Air Pollution
Are you planning to buy a home in one of the busiest roads in town? You might be overwhelmed with your purchasing power to procure a high-rise building that’s close to the major areas in the city connecting all important places and existing as a piece of cake for any buyer. But maybe, after reading this article you will think twice before choosing to buy it. We have research quoting that children who lived in areas with high air pollution levels as kids are likelier to develop major depression by the age of 18. Such kids are 3-4 times at an increased risk of depression at 18 when they are exposed to dirty air by the age of 12. According to researchers 75% of mental problems start during childhood as it is during this time that the brain is developing rapidly and being exposed to impure air at such a tender age surely raises the risk.
Another research shows that short-term exposure to intense air pollution was linked to exponential growth of psychiatric disorders in kids a couple of days later. The same study also found that those kids living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution compared to other kids in the form of anxiety and suicidality. On second thoughts it seems that pollutants and the surrounding neighborhood stressors could in turn have an effect on the psychiatric symptom’s severity and frequency. The main focus of the study was on finite particulate matter known as PM2.5. These are microscopic particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can get into the lungs, pass into other organs and bloodstream resulting in inflammation, irritation and respiratory problems. Prolonged exposure of the matter can even lead to cancer and heart attack. It was seen that increase in PM2.5 levels immediately led to psychiatric visits in the next couple of days many of which pertained to adjustment disorder and suicidal thoughts. While this study focused specifically on PM2.5 there are quite a few others that have found a link between air pollution and mental health. The study published in ‘Environmental Research’ found that high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) causes increment in generalized anxiety. Another study published in the same journal found that exposure to TRAP during early life and childhood was linked to depression and anxiety symptoms in 12-year-old kids.
Dirty air has a bad impact on quality of life, shortens lifespan and makes the living period disdainful for many yet the action taken to control air pollution is bad. Also, air pollution is only one of the threats to mental and physical health and there are plenty other environmental issues that cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Rather than simply putting the entire blame on the government people should also take action from their end to minimize air pollution levels by planting trees, avoiding smoking, abstain from cutting down trees and engaging in carpooling or using public transportation whenever and wherever possible. This helps in safeguarding the health of our future generations.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.