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With industrialisation and 360-degree development, increasing pollution levels are contributing to the deteriorating physiology of the human body. Where progress has accelerated around us, human physiology is being marred by the harmful effects of various forms of pollution. 


Air pollution particularly is impacting your quality of life ever since you are in your mother’s womb. 


The far reaching consequences of your lungs being filled with contaminated air can subject you to life threatening ailments. Illnesses like asthma attacks, cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, infections, COPD, and lung tissue swelling can have serious implications.


Nevertheless, while you take conscious steps to reduce carbon emissions, there are some underlying risks that your body is exposed to. Here are the top 10 risks:

1. Premature Death 

There is a direct correlation between increasing pollution and increasing mortality rate. Exposure to air pollutants like dust, smog, carbon monoxide, lead, ground-level ozone etc. for a long period of time can be fatal in nature. 


Microscopic particles from these pollutants can penetrate even deep into your respiratory tract and become toxic. As a result, your body might become susceptible to various diseases like heart-attacks, asthma, cancer and strokes. All these physical ailments pose a threat to the longevity of your life. 


Most of the deaths caused by air pollution are respiratory and cardiovascular in nature. 

2. Asthma Attacks

As a patient of asthma, if you remain exposed to smoke, dirt, dust and burning fossil fuels for a long period, it can increase breathlessness and lead to a higher frequency of asthma attacks. 


Remember that the smaller the particles can penetrate deeper in the body. This can cause irritation, tightening and swelling of your airways and result in difficulty in breathing. 


If asthmatic symptoms do not receive the right medical attention, they can become more severe and difficult to treat. This can interfere with simple tasks which you perform daily or even result in you missing school or work. 

3. Cardiovascular Disease 

When you breathe in poor quality air, its pollutants are carried into your bloodstream through the lungs. Once in the bloodstream, the pollutants can cause a build-up of plaque in the major coronary arteries. 


Not only will the blood flow in your body become restricted, but it could also make the blood vessels narrow, increasing the chance of heart attacks and strokes. You can imagine how having a jeopardised cardiovascular system will in turn affect the health of your physical body. 

4. Lung Cancer 

The mixing of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air can cause increased cancer risk.  The origins of lung cancer can be traced back to exposure to air pollution, especially if you live in a city with high pollution levels. 


The small particles which are trapped in your lungs can build up over time. Not only does this damage the cells in your lungs but it also leads to inflammation. When this inflammation isn't treated on time, it can begin changing how your cells replicate themselves and also damage the DNA. 


Outdoor pollutants like particles from wildfires, black carbon from gas and diesel engines and ozone heavily contribute to the development of lung cancer. But it isn’t the result of outdoor pollutants alone. Impurities like smoke, tobacco, carbon monoxide and burning of solid fuels like wood, coal, kerosene and charcoal for cooking can also elevate the possibility of lung cancer. 

5. Developmental Damage 

The modern lifestyle can also be detrimental for children, especially when they are exposed to air pollution at a young age. Consequently, their brain development and lung growth may be hindered. They also become more susceptible to developing an asthmatic condition early in their childhood and lung cancer later in life. 


You might have seen kids walking to school and maybe your child is one of them. But what you wouldn’t be aware of is that because of shorter heights, children are closer to ground level and thus, closer to the exhaust pipes of vehicles. They breathe in faster, inhaling a third more air pollution as compared to you, when they walk on a busy road.  When your child is exposed to nitrogen dioxide from the exhaust of vehicles, they are at a high risk of developing childhood asthma. 

6. Susceptibility to Infections 

Respiratory infections in developing countries are mostly diagnosed in elderly women and mothers who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking or little children who are exposed to the stove and burning wood at home. 


Nitrogen dioxide as a new photochemical pollutant has major toxic effects related to infections. 

7. Worsened COPD Symptoms 

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is mostly the result of smoking but can also be diagnosed in non-smokers. The irritants from contaminated air upon entry in your airways and lungs can severely damage them. 


As a smoker, you can be at a great risk of death due to COPD. The release of certain particles upon the combustion of fossil fuels can also aggravate the inflammation in the lungs. In a COPD patient, this can weaken the already reduced pulmonary functions to a higher extent; meaning increased hospital and emergency room visits. 


If you’re a non-smoker, air pollution through dust, fumes, chemicals and passive smoking may exacerbate your COPD symptoms.

8. Lung Tissue Swelling and Irritation 

Ozone, sulphur dioxide and particulates in the air can inflame the lining of your lungs, making the cells work harder. Even if you have healthy lungs, you might still experience swelling and irritation due to breathing in polluted air for the long-term. But for people who already suffer from chronic lung diseases, like COPD and asthma, it can be extremely harmful. 

9. Low Infant Birth Weight

The combustion of fossil fuels produces sulphur dioxide, a colourless and non-explosive gas which can prove to be harmful for pregnant women and their foetus. Inhaling air of lower quality index can prove to be fatal for both pregnant women and infants. Tiny harmful particles in the air you breathe can actually become the breeding ground for your child’s detrimental health condition. 


The World Health Organisation considers infants weighing less than 5.5 pounds at the time of birth to be underweight. Such infants are vulnerable to health problems like respiratory infections, declined lung growth, brain damage and inflammation. 


If your infant has a low birth weight, their sugar level might remain low; organs like brain, heart, lungs and intestines won’t function properly, and they might have trouble eating and keeping warm. 

10. Wheezing, Coughing and Shortness of Breath 

Sulphur dioxide and ozone, the prime chemical pollutants affect the surface of your lungs. The resulting inflammation produces mucus, coughing, and reduces the average amount of oxygen required by your body and tightens your chest. 


When you’re weighed down by polluted air, your physical body ultimately starts developing critical infections and illnesses that can derail everyday life. The effects of pollution on humans do not end with this list only. They become more and more intricate with continued exposure. 

As time runs out, you cannot wait for the contamination in the air to dissipate. What you can do is invest in a Pollution Cover that protects you before it's too late. With our Pollution Cover you can get a coverage of Rs. 2 Lakh which can help meet hospitalisation charges for cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses so that you can live a longer and healthier life with your family. 

FAQs on Air Pollution Health Risks

What does a Pollution Cover include?

You’ll receive the following benefits under the plan:

  • Hospitalisation expenses

  • Diagnostic tests

  • Doctor’s fees

  • Expenses on medication

  • Treatment charges

  • Ambulance charges

What’s not included in the Pollution Cover?

- Hospitalisation for reasons other than respiratory illness

- Hospitalisation within 90 days of the policy’s commencement

- Any pre-existing disease

What is the validity of the plan?

The plan is valid for 1 year. 

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