Researchers recently examined 18 diseases represented by outpatient visits to a hospital in Taiwan to determine patterns of the effect of air pollution on different organs and found evidence that concurrent occurrences of diseases show that the immune system tries to create protective defenses.
A total of 1.7 million medical visits from 18 diseases during 2007—2011 were combined with half a million air pollution and meteorological data, combined with medical data in a multivariate model. The researchers used a disease-air pollution model that represented each of the diseases as a function of the environmental factors.
The model was used to identify associations between hospital outpatient visits for respiratory diseases and environmental factors, and between hospital outpatient visits for accidents and environmental factors.
Elevated risks of air pollution occurred in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), spondylosis, pneumonia, cerebrovascular diseases, influenza, osteoarthritis, asthma, and other conditions. The researchers found that air pollutants were associated with elevated health risks occurred with diameters equal or less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particular matters with diameters equal or less than 10μm (PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxide (NO).
In order of health risk, the most hazardous air pollutants are PM2.5, NO 2, PM10, O3, CO, and NO.
“Air pollution is the most important environmental risk factor for health. The most severe health risks associated with air pollution are the mortality rates, which have been studied the longest,” the authors said of the study results. “Before people got killed by diseases associated with air pollution, people were struck with various diseases associated with air pollution. The toxicity and pathophysiological changes in the organs resulting from air pollution exposure were best found in experimental studies.”
Chau T and Wang K. An association between air pollution and daily most frequently visits of eighteen outpatient diseases in an industrial city [published online February 11, 2020]. Sci Rep. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-58721-0.