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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lung diseases & pneumonia on BMC’s top-five killer list

Sedentary Lifestyles And Unhealthy Diets Play Havoc On Mumbaikars' Heartline

Polluted air exacerbated by construction projects, constant changein weather and an unhealthy addiction to cigarettes are taking a toll on our lungs. Pneumonia and lower respiratory diseases like bronchitis have emerged in the BMC's top-five list of killer diseases after cardiac ailments, TB and cancer. A total of 4,203 Mumbaikars lost their lives to pneumonia, and 3,686 patients died of lower respiratory diseases in 2011. The good news is that the death toll for both diseases has dropped since 2010. In 2010, pneumonia claimed 4,666 lives; the mortality rate for lower respiratory diseases stood at 4,372. 
    Dr RohiniChowghulefrom Indian Institute of Environmental Medicine, said pneumonia is an "umbrella term" because a health complication can trigger the infection, which has not one but eight avatars. "One can acquire pneumonia from a community and also from a hospital after surgery (as an infection). There are a number of factors that can cause pneumonia," she said. 
    Doctors say the 30-45% rise in cases during summer can be attributed to a change in holiday patterns and summer camps where children are in closecontactwithone another. In India, 4.1 lakh children die annually from pneumonia. "Less than 20% get the necessary antibiotics. If a child suffering from pneumonia is not treated on time, it may cause brain damage, mental retardation, partial paralysis, seizures, etc," said Dr Rohit Agarwal, president, Indian Academy of Paediatrics. 
    Pollution can be attributed as the main cause for deaths due to respiratory infections, especially COPD. Experts blame suspended particlulate matter apart from other pollutants like carbon monoxide. "White blood cells present in the alveoli can eat up these particles. But when subjected to continuous exposure, the particles get accumulated in the lungs over time. Prolonged accumulation may cause pharynxitis, bronchitis, an increase in asthma or trigger pneumonia along with the dreaded COPD,'' said Dr Neelam Rane, professor of physiology at D Y Patil Medical College.



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