Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Well it's a known fact that air pollution is an awful thing. Awful for not only your lungs, but your heart as well. But, it seems as with many things, we do not know the full extent of the effects. New Canadian studies claim that air pollution is also increasing the risk of appendicitis(inflammation of the appendix) in adults, and even short-term exposure to air pollution could have an effect. It also seems that asthmatics(those with asthma), children and older folks are particularly at risk.
So far "the dominant theory of the cause of appendicitis has been obstruction of the appendix opening, but this theory does not explain the trends of appendicitis in developed and developing countries. Appendicitis cases increased dramatically in industrialized countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries, then decreased in the middle and late 20th century, coinciding with legislation to improve air quality. The incidence of appendicitis has been growing in developing countries as they become more industrialized."
They then used government data on air pollution to figure out the level of exposure to various pollutants of the people with appendicitis. "They found correlations between high levels of ozone and nitrogen dioxide and the incidence of appendicitis between age groups and genders." More men than women were found to have the condition, possibly because more men work outside, giving them a higher exposure to air pollution on "bad air quality" days.
So now that these studies have surfaced, researchers will be trying to figure out exactly how air pollution could trigger appendicitis. What is already suspected though is that the pollutants may trigger inflammatory responses, but further studies will be necessary to figure out exactly what is going on. No matter what the consensus of the studies are, it's incredible to see that each and every day we discover new things that show us what a detriment we are to the environment. Maybe now that it is starting to affect our own personal health, we will start making real changes towards going green. How to stop this stuff will be have to faced in the future.