Pro IQRA News Updates.
The link between air pollution and poor health should not be underestimated. 9,400 premature deaths have been linked to poor air quality and it costs our health services between £1.4 and £3.7 billion a year to deal with.
A new study shows that bad air pollution can play a role in accelerating cognitive decline and dementia, which in turn can cause more people with dementia to seek mental health care.
The new research, published in the open access journal BMJ Mental Health, found that those diagnosed with dementia who also lived in large areas of London with heavy traffic were more likely to seek help with their mental health.
About 940,000 Britons currently live with dementia, according to NHS figures. This number is set to rise to two million by 2050 in line with population aging. Dementia is currently the leading cause of death among women in the UK.
The new findings support several studies that have also focused on the effects of air pollution in the elderly — including the possible role it plays in increasing cognitive decline and dementia.
Although air pollution is known to increase the use of health services by people with dementia, the majority of studies have focused largely on hospital services, rather than community services, where most people with the condition are managed in the UK.
That’s why the researchers analyzed the use of community mental health services over the past nine years. The study looked at 5,024 elderly people (65 and over) who lived in 4 boroughs of south London after an initial diagnosis of dementia between 2008 and 2012.
The researchers found that the greater the exposure to air pollution, the greater the use of mental health services, especially when exposed to nitrogen dioxide. This was particularly noticeable among those with vascular dementia.
“Reducing air pollution, especially nitrogen dioxide, through public health interventions such as expanding ultra-low emission zones can improve job performance and disease pathways for people with dementia,” the researchers say.