I have sincere worry about the health situation of africans especially the children in the days ahead. This is simply because as I constantly read about the quest for industrialization to boost the economy.
It is regrettable to note that non of the stakeholders appear to be aware of (or do they choose to be silent about) the health consequences of their proposals.
In both the print and electronic media, it is always news: every effort is being made to encourage small and medium manufacturing enterprises all over the african countries.
The societies are now quietly being dotted with all manners of such small and medium scale manufacturing outfits, enhancing productivity and creating jobs.
This, surely, is a welcome development but how about the future effect of the activities of these companies on the environment.
Nothing is being said about how to control the Environment Pollution that is a sure constant, an aftermath of such wide scale uncontrolled industrial pollution.
Stakeholders have not thought about the gas emition, pollution of streams and farmlands to mention just a few.
Environmental air pollution in the villages will surely become a matter of health concern in the near future, and with it, it shall also be the concern for increasing prevalence of such disorders as asthma. The experience of countries like China is there to learn from.
ASTHMA: A RESPIRATORY DISORDER
Increasing environmental air pollution is coming with noticeable increasing incidence of Asthma, especially on children. Asthma is a disease involving the respiratory system causing obstruction to the airways.
During an acute attack of asthma, the circular muscles surrounding the breathing tubes that form our airways( called the bronchi) go into spasm impending especially the passage of air starvation.
One is surrounded by so much air , the patient finds it difficult to get enough. Also at this same time, there is increased secretion of mucous by the inner lining of the bronchial tubes, adding to the obstruction of the airways.
SYMPTOMS OF ASTHMA
The commonest complaint during an acute attack of asthma is that of inability to breath. Often, a sufferer could not get enough air down the lungs.
This is very incapacitating. Air is so abundant, yet so scarce. And this can occur within a short time, starting slowing but progressively worsening.
If it is not arrested promptly, it may lead to death. But an attack may also be self limiting. Other symptoms include wheezing ( a kind of whistling sound that may even be heard audibly when one comes close to an asthma patient during an attack.
Coughing and tightness in the chest are other common complaints. Most asthma patients are allergic to one thing or the other. Most of these symptoms may also be seen with infection of the lower respiratory system. Therefore, proper diagnosis need to be made by a trained physician.
CAUSES OF ASTHMA
In the early 1970s, scientists thought that the spasm of those circular bronchial muscles was the major underlying problem behind the symptoms since the spasms lead to the narrowing of the air passages.
This thinking informed by the first line of treatment, usually given to patients to relieve the spasm. Years later, research began to show that a patient, to major underlying problem was a chronic inflammatory changes.
However, more recent research in the past has proven clearly that the main underlying problem in asthma ( and indeed many chronic lung disorders) is oxidative stress, affecting the issues of the respiratory system.
Environmental air pollution is one major reason for increased oxidative stress that’s now so prevalent in our modernised society.
ASTHMA AND AIR POLLUTION
From the foregoing, we can deduce that air pollution is one constant source of Oxidative Stress; and this is getting worse by the day. I fear especially for the future of children.
Especially because parents fortify them with junk food, fastactivitd noodles, all of which little or no antioxidant nutrients.
No thanks to the busy modern life and the school managers who encourage parents to stuff lunch boxes with junk and fast food in place of real nutrients rich food
In the face weak and denatured immune system sponsored by poor nutrition, air pollution and structural cell mutations seen in the system of children of those who have been exposed to undue free radicals in their life time, allergens find it so easy to provoke and sustain chronic inflammatory changes.
In the presence of good antioxidant nutrition, allergens found it difficult to provoke asthma. Allergens commonly associated with asthma include Dust mites(found on beddings and carpets) animal dander (from domestic pets), feathers, chemicals, certain drugs, food additives, preservatives and colourants, fumes/smoke (tobacco and engine), mould, pollens from flowers, etc.
Also, activities like exercise, excessive laughing, anxiety, fear, temperature changes, poor ventilation, stress, low blood sugar, espiratory infections ( including systemic candidacies) and disorders of the adrenal organ can all provoke an attack of asthma.
WHAT IS THE WAY OUT ?
I believe everyone is a stakeholder. You may say well, asthma does not run in my family. Like I’ve said, inter marriages and cell mutations following poor nutrition may also position your posterity to become victims in future.
We should all begin to speak out and let the people in the government see the need for preparation towards the future.
At the personal level, let’s begin to feed the children better by finding time to attend to what they eat. We should also seek to eat better ourselves. Nothing says asthma may not develop in latter years.
And when we choose the more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, especially eating them fresh and frequently, our children will emulate us and pass the gist down the line.
Person noticing some of the symptoms listed above should see their doctor immediately for proper assessment.
Let’s work towards a less polluted air. Recently, smoking in public places has been banned in the United Kingdom. This is a sign that the message is getting to the right quarters. Air pollution is a war for all of us.
The air we breath is everywhere and not regional or exclusive to a particular province and so, when the pollution comes, it will affect everyone; that’s the reason we need to tackle environmental problems collectively.