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Staying indoors can lead to respiratory diseases: 5 ways to improve air quality at work and home



By Dr. Sandup HS

Most of us live believing that the air in our homes is safe to breathe. Room air is sometimes even more polluted from outside. Common indoor air pollutants may cause respiratory discomfort, pulmonary disease and COPD exacerbations.

Indoor air pollution is an important risk factor for the development of chronic respiratory diseases.

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common, preventable and treatable respiratory disease characterized by persistent symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and sputum production.

Are you suffering from a tough cough? This may be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from COPD, a life-threatening lung disease that covers several conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

COPD: Numbers

Over 400 million people worldwide suffer from COPD. In India, the estimated COPD cases are about 15 million, of which 9 million are men and 6 million are female.

COPD is currently the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, resulting in about 6% of total deaths.

Risk factors

Smoking is an important risk factor for COPD around the world. However, there is an increase in non-smoker COPD cases, especially in developing countries such as India, where air quality in the rooms is poor.

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Most smokers believe that smoking is cool. No matter how you indulge in it, tobacco is harmful to your health. Tobacco contains over 7,000 toxins and 70 known carcinogens (chemicals that increase the risk of cancer) and can damage almost any body organ.

Dr. Sachin Kumar, Senior Pulmonary Disease Consultant at Sakra Hospital, explains how smoking affects every part of your body.

The next time you are tempted to grab, just stop for a minute and think about the consequences of your retreat.

It has been shown that passive smoking or ETS smoke contains the same dangerous chemicals as cigarettes, including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. About 7% of women who use biomass and never smoke in their lives also suffer from COPD.

Much of our rural population still relies on biomass for cooking. The smoke emitted from these fuels generates hazardous chemicals that can lead to respiratory problems like COPD if people are exposed to it for a longer period of time.

The other risk factors for people living indoors are common biological contaminants such as molds, pollen, poisonous animals, and dust mites.

Can COPD be reversed?

This condition can not be fully reversed, but a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment can help fight the disease.

Generally, men and women are exposed to heavy indoor air pollutants and are 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with respiratory conditions. People spend most of their time indoors. Therefore, it is important to take immediate steps to improve indoor air quality.

for breathing cleanair_ThinkstockPhotos

Steps to improve indoor air quality:
– Wash your underwear frequently to get rid of dust mites. Maintaining a moisture level below 50 percent can also help.

– Avoid smoking indoors to improve air quality.

– Keep the plants indoors can be beneficial to health. Various studies have shown that indoor plants can significantly reduce room air pollution.

– Air filters can also be used to improve indoor air quality. Using LPG instead of biomass fuel can significantly reduce room contamination.

Simple measures taken to improve air quality in homes and offices can significantly reduce the burden of chronic respiratory illnesses.

(The author is a pulmonologist consultant at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Bengaluru)

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Usually the desire to smoke lasts only a few minutes. Every time you feel the need for inhalation, drink plenty of water to reduce your desire.

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