Air Pollution and Kidney Damage

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Air Pollution linked with Kidney problems

Air Pollution is not good for health, everybody is well known with this fact. Inhaling polluted air can cause many diseases, which can cause serious long-term health effects. It is not an option to inhale the air or not, if it is polluted, as no can live without breathing. Air Pollutants include:

  • Gases
  • Particulate matter

Common health problems by air pollution:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose, mouth, and throat
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Reduction in energy level

Serious health problems include:

  • Respiratory and Lung Diseases
  • Leukaemia (Blood Cancer)
  • Heart Problems
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Premature Death
  • Liver Cancer

A Recent study has found that air pollution can be a major cause for kidney diseases. As per Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, “Air Pollution is a risk factor for kidney disease development.”

The study was done from two different set of perspectives:

  • Satellite data from NASA
  • Information provided by Environmental protection Agency

From 2004, the scientists of the Veteran Affairs’ Clinical Epidemiology and the Washington University Team, over 2.5 million people, have evaluated a database and it has seen that most of them were suffering from kidney diseases caused by air pollution.

A collective data from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NASA is compared and analysed the effects on the kidney functions in the different air-quality levels. In the last few years, more than 44 thousand new cases of kidney disease and more than 2 thousand cases of kidney failure are recorded. It is considered that air pollution levels above the EPA’s threshold limit, which is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, is not safe to inhale.

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How Air Pollution affects Kidney Functions:

Smallest microscopic air particles, which are invisible and airborne and contain dust, dirt, smoke and often-liquid droplets, when inhaled with the air, enter the body and spread into the bloodstream. The kidneys while performing their function filter the blood. As a result, these polluted particles stay there and affect the normal functioning of the kidneys.

Higher particulate matter (PM) concentration in the air can also cause end-stage renal disease, due to which the kidneys will not filter the blood properly and they will not work effectively. If such a condition occurs, dialysis becomes the necessary condition to stay alive.

Effective Study by Veterans Affairs, EPA, and NASA:

Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University, said, “Data on the relationship between air pollution and kidney disease in humans has been scarce. However once we analysed the data, the link between air pollution and the development of kidney disease was clear.”

Even if the pollutants enter the body in small amount then also they can adversely affect the kidney functions as these particulate matters invade directly into the bloodstream. The kidneys are at higher risk with the increase in pollution as more the harmful pollutants, more it will disrupt the functioning of the kidneys.

As per Dr. Al-Aly, “NASA data and EPA data yielded consistent results.”

He further stated, “The beauty of using both EPA and NASA data is that the agencies used two distinct techniques for collecting data, yet the results were similar.” He added, “This constellation of findings suggests that chronic exposure to air pollution is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of kidney diseases.”

According to a study in 2016 by the American Lung Association:

The air pollution has decreased in the US over the last few years, but still more than half of the population is living in an unhealthy environment, near industries, coal mining areas, etc. Many cases of kidney disease have been found in the US, which are the results of unhealthy air, people are breathing.

The air pollution level of China and India is much higher than the US. This can give a brief idea how this problem is a major issue globally, but not of a particular region.

Research of Reuters Health:

Dr. Jennifer Bregg-Gresham reviewed the research and stated, “It has been known for a while that air pollution increases the risks for heart and lung problems. These new findings support that even low level of fine particulate matter air pollution across the US can increase the risk of serious kidney problems.”

All these studies are done through different techniques and yet the results are same. This confirms that air pollution is affecting the kidneys and increasing the diseases at a higher rate.

Painkillers to Relief:

Research is going on to produce effective painkillers that could provide relief in such a case. Dark frogs in Central America secrete epibatidine, which is very effective as compared to morphine. This can be used to generate painkillers in future.

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Almost 3 million people all over the world lost their lives because of air pollution caused by smoke or chemicals from industries and other sources. It is better to take effective measures instead of waiting for the disease to knock your health.

  • Reduce the exposure to PM air pollution inside the buildings by using Indoor Air Filtration.
  • Use a validated Respirator N95 facemask, while leaving the buildings.

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Health is wealth. A healthy physic is the basic step of a healthy and happy life. So, do not ignore your health and do health check-ups after a regular interval of time.

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