Silent Threat: How Indoor Pollution Impacts Cognitive Health? Expert Shares | Health News


In the quest for a healthy lifestyle, many individuals focus on outdoor air quality, often overlooking the potential hazards lurking within their homes. Recent research has underscored the significant impact of indoor pollution on cognitive health, revealing a disturbing connection between the air we breathe indoors and the well-being of our minds. From infants to the elderly, the adverse effects of poor indoor air quality extend across all age groups, manifesting in neurological impairment, cognitive decline, and even contributing to the early onset of dementia.

In an interview with Zee News English, Dr Richa Mittal, Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai talks about how indoor pollution can affect your heart, lungs and overall health.

Impact of Pollution on Cognitive Health

1. Neurological and Cognitive Impairment in Children: Robust data supports the link between indoor pollution and cognitive health, especially in children. Infants exposed to poor indoor air quality face a heightened risk of neurological and cognitive impairment. This early exposure can lead to long-term consequences, affecting learning, decision-making, and memory functions as they grow older.

2. Early Onset of Dementia in Adults: Studies have highlighted a correlation between exposure to indoor pollutants and the early onset of dementia in adults. Air pollution, notably PM2.5, serves as a recognized risk factor for dementia in the elderly. Dementia not only clouds cognitive function but also results in memory problems and difficulties in clear thinking.

3. Possible Link to Depression: Emerging evidence suggests a potential link between indoor pollution and mental health issues in adults. Prolonged exposure to poor air quality indoors may contribute to the development of depression, further emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to mental well-being.

Research indicates a strong dose-response relationship between indoor air quality and cognitive effects. The more compromised the air quality, the faster the development of cognitive impairments. This underscores the urgency of addressing indoor pollution as a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being.

At the forefront of indoor pollutants is PM2.5, tiny particles with a width 1/30th the size of a hair strand. These microscopic particles easily infiltrate the respiratory system upon inhalation, entering the bloodstream and potentially travelling to the brain through nerves. PM2.5 has been identified as the principal pollutant responsible for significant harm to the brain, highlighting the dire consequences of its presence in indoor environments.

Who is the most Affected by Pollution?

Children’s Academic Performance:

Indoor pollution adversely affects children’s academic performance by impairing learning and increasing absenteeism. The impact extends beyond the classroom, influencing the overall well-being and prospects of the younger generation.

Pregnant Women and Child Development:

Pregnant women exposed to polluted indoor air face the risk of their children experiencing attention problems, anxiety, or depression. The implications of indoor pollution on maternal and child health emphasize the need for creating healthy living environments during pregnancy.

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