Respiratory ailments are the city’s biggest cause for concern, warn chest physicians and respiratory specialists.
“Even patients who have never suffered from any respiratory disorders like asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), complain of respiratory infections in winter or when seasons change,” said Dr Udesh Kerkar, physician.
The primary cause, say experts, is the pollutants present in the atmosphere.
Dr Hemant Gupta, consultant physician, Bombay Hospital, has seen a huge rise in the number of patients with respiratory complaints. “I see patients from both rural and areas. Another problem is that increasingly, the newer generation is coming up with more allergies and respiratory problems,” said Dr Gupta.
“When the level of pollutants in the air increases, the respiratory tract filters everything we inhale, is unable to do the job properly. This weakens the defence mechanism in the body, which in turn causes symptoms such as breathlessness, bronchitis, allergies, respiratory diseases, etc.”
Cases of asthma attacks too are on the rise in the city. According to a study published in the American Review of Respiratory Diseases, about 7 to 8 % of the population of Mumbai suffers from asthma.
“About 10 lakh people in Mumbai suffer from asthma. Incidence of paediatric asthma is rising steadily,” said Dr Pramod Niphadkar of Asthma and Bronchitis Association of India.