All about pollution - Air pollution in the capital increased to dangerously high levels post-Diwali ‘One Health’ initiative is human health, animal health and environmental health together. It recognizes that the health of humans, animals and environment are all interrelated. Vedic science clearly says ‘As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm’. This topic is especially relevant today as diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, Japanese encephalitis are a cause of much concern today. With regard to animals, Bird flu has been in the news lately. And, environmental health is the rising pollution levels. Pollution has become a major threat to the health of society today. While earlier, one took note of the weather forecast, it is now time that one also take note of pollution levels in the area that you will be traveling to and accordingly plan your activities. Some key aspects of air pollution • Sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (as NO2), suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM/PM10) are measured as part of air quality monitoring. • Particulate matter or suspended particles less than 10 micrometer in diameter are called PM-10. • PM10 will remain in the lungs and can damage the lung alveoli causing asthma and COPD and may later on permanently damage the lungs. • For India, the PM10 levels should be less than 100 and PM 2.5 levels should be less than 60. As per international recommendations, both PM 10 and PM2.5 should be less than 40. • Particulate matter or suspended particles less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter are called PM 2.5. • PM2.5 is absorbed in lung and enters circulation. It increases free radicals, cholesterol deposition and precipitate heart attack, stroke, hypertension. • Short-term exposure to PM2.5 pollutants is associated with acute coronary ischemic (insufficient blood flow in the coronary arteries of the heart) events. • Exposure to CO2, NO2, SO2, PM10, PM2.5 is associated with increased risk of heart attack (1.25%). • PM2.5 exposure can increase the resting blood pressure due to sympathetic overactivity. • PM2.5 exposure causes endothelial dysfunction. • PM2.5 exposure causes thickening of the blood. • PM2.5 exposure is linked with blockages in the heart. • High SO2 and NO2 levels may precipitate asthma attacks, or acute exacerbations of COPD. • High levels of NO2 and PM 2.5 can trigger atrial fibrillation with 2 hours of exposure. • The chances of irregular heart rhythm jumps by 26% for each 6 mcg/cu mm increase in PM 2.5 levels.