Lucknow: Nearly two lakh people in Uttar Pradesh are dying every year due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) caused by air pollution.
Cardiologists in the state capital have voiced their concern, especially, in the context of India where a hefty majority of the 45 per cent CVD deaths take place in the productive age group (40-69 years).
The issue has been deliberated in detail at various platforms, including the World Heart Federation besides the Cardiological Society of India as ‘air pollution is an uncontrollable risk factor’.
According to reports, over 3.5 million people in the world are dying of heart disease and strokes linked to air pollution, suggests data from the World Heart Federation.
Another dataset indicates that 31 per cent of these deaths were taking place in India. This translates into a loss of some 11.5 lakh persons each year.
CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Explaining how air pollution affects the heart, faculty at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Prof Satyendra Tewari said: “Tiny particles (in the polluted air called particulate matter) travel into the bloodstream when one breathes. Sustained and prolonged exposure tends to damage the inner walls of the blood vessels causing them to become narrower and harder. This may raise one’s blood pressure, increase chances of clot formation and derail the normal rhythm of the heart (and cause arrhythmia). All the three conditions may lead to heart attack, brain stroke or trigger heart failure.”
Specialists also expressed concern over the trend and emphasized on the need for studying the local and regional patterns.
Senior consultant, cardiology, Apollomedics Super specialty Hospital, Dr (Col) Ajay Bahadur said, “CVDs due to air pollution, be it indoor or outdoor or due to heavy metals, is an underestimated cause. Scientific evidence is crucial to bring about the required policy changes.”
Faculty at Lari Cardiology, Prof Rishi Sethi advised people to remain mindful of the problem and work on their overall health.
“Indications are that in case one already has a heart disease, even short-term exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, those with the condition must monitor themselves well,” he said.
Experts from alternative medicine advised people to take up breathing exercises such as pranayama to cleanse their lungs and blood circulation system.