By: Mahiyan Chakrabarti
Medica Group of Hospitals, one of the major and fast-growing private hospital chains in Eastern India organized a panel discussion program on ‘Impact of Pollution on Health’ at Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata, to mark the celebration of World Health Day.
Each year on World Health Day, a theme is chosen by the hospital authority, that highlights an area of priority concern for WHO. The theme for World Health Day 2022 was ‘Our Planet, Our Health’.
At the panel, Dr. Dilip Kumar (Senior Cardiologist), spoke about the Air Pollution causing Heart blockage, leading to death, Dr. Aviral Roy (Internal Medicine & Critical Care Specialist), highlighted some major problems seen in the old and young people due to pollution, Dr. Nandini Biswas (Respiratory Medicine Specialist), spotted the ‘Effects of Pollution in Lungs’ and Dr. Harsh Dhar (Oncologist, Head and Neck Surgeon), shared his experience in Cancer caused due to various pollutions and environmental hazards. The entire event was moderated by Mr. Ayanabh Debgupta (Co-founder and Joint Managing Director).
This hour-long panel discussion and the interactive session pointed out the views of the specialist doctors at the panel who highlighted their observations and clinically oriented topics, ranging from defining the diseases caused by Pollution to the technicalities of managing the same.
Focusing on this year’s theme, Dr. Dilip Kumar, Senior Cardiologist, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, mentioned that Pollution is an overlooked reason for mortality and air pollution is the fourth most cause for worldwide deaths. In terms of cardiovascular aspects, pollution can cause accelerated Atherosclerosis which is just like the hardening of vessels or blockage in the vessels. Due to this coronary arteries, peripheral arteries get blocked, which consequently leads to strokes and heart attacks. One most prominent symptom that develops due to pollution is hypertension which even leads to cardiac events, cardiac arrests, and heart failures. Besides, the heart can go into Arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac arrests can be caused due to pollutants. Around 6.5 million deaths happen globally every year because of pollution and among the 6.5 million, 60% are due to cardiovascular diseases. He further said that the developed countries are somehow aware of the situation and working on that, however, in India, pollution is still a big problem.
Dr. Aviral Roy, Internal Medicine & Critical Care Specialist, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, shared a few findings that conveyed, pollution, including air pollution is a major problem for the average Indian citizen. The higher amounts of pollution are not only linked to what we all are aware of, like Asthma, COPD, difficulty in breathing but also other problems, caused due to higher amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and Sulphur dioxide that has direct effects on pregnant mothers and young children. Pollution not only causes problems with respiratory systems but also causes growth retardation, growth delay, weakening of bones, decreased strength, and stamina. He highlighted that, air pollution is a major problem not only for old people but also for the young and which is very often underappreciated.
Dr. Nandini Biswas, Respiratory Medicine Specialist, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, stated that, as far as the health is concerned, pollution has got a direct detrimental effect on
entire being and perhaps the most damaged and affected organs are lungs. The air that we breathe in, contains particulates and pollutants that are inhaled through our breathing indirectly through our airways and our lungs, and the
harmful effects are seen more pronounced within the respiratory system. COPD is a chronic obstructive lung disease, and it’s currently the 3rd leading cause of death in the world which will very soon be the first leading cause of death in the world. In the western world, smoking is blamed to a large extent for COPD but in India, pollution is the major factor that drives COPD. She further added that, pollution is responsible for lung cancer; it not only causes general inflammation in the airways, but it can cause inflammation within the bodies as well. If unattended now, ten or twenty years down the line, the world will face a severe crisis .
Dr. Harsh Dhar, Oncologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, said that, unwanted waste released to air, water, and land by human activity is the major environmental cause of disease in the world today. It is responsible for an estimated 9.0 million premature deaths per year, enormous economic losses, erosion of human capital, and degradation of ecosystems. With the growing industrialization and lack of proper laws regulating chemical waste disposal, one stands the risk of exposure to chemical toxins. The most devastating elements of this pollution are plastics which take thousands of years to decay. Besides, these pollutants cause an increase in harmful algal blooms that produce toxins that accumulate in seafood. The ingestion of these toxins in humans can further cause Cancer, among many other harmful diseases. There is definite evidence that the incidence of cancer is rising and a certain proportion of this can be attributed to the rise in environmental toxins. The increasing air pollution in most of the Indian megacities over the last few decades and its consequential human health impacts (such as asthma and cardio-respiratory illness) has drawn prominent attention in recent years. The only way to be safe from these risks is to eat healthy foods, increase immunity, completely avoid processed foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, having safe household water storage, better hygiene measures, and limit the use of unknown chemicals.
The panel discussion attended by the specialist doctors of Medica Superspeciality Hospital enlightened and highlighted the priority area of concern in the current scenario and its effect and cure on human lives.This certainly is a great move to create an awareness among the common people against the dangerous effect of pollution in the society as a whole.