How Does Physical Environment Influence Our Health?


How Does Physical Environment Influence Our Health?

Our physical environment significantly affects our health. The places where we spend a lot of our time, such as home, office, and school, can affect the physical as well as the mental health of a person. Apart from the immediate physical environment, exposure to hazardous surroundings can also severely affect one’s health. As per the World Health Organisation, WHO, in the year 2016, 24% of the global deaths were because of environmental conditions. 

The challenges that we face in our physical setting, affect our health and, in turn, the whole community. The most vulnerable in such a scenario are young children, senior citizens, expecting mothers and the financially weaker sections. Respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, malignant growth, Parkinson’s and many other illnesses are believed to be directly related to the growing pollution. However, experts are of the opinion that when we care for the environment, it can significantly improve our health in turn. Let’s know how our surroundings can impact on our overall well-being. 

Major Components that Contribute to Poor Health

Let us take a closer look at how the physical setting around us influences our health and what can we do about it:

Air Pollution

Air pollution can be a cause of premature mortality and severe health complications caused by hazardous gases and particles. The PM2.5 particle living in the physical environment is one of the most disastrous air pollutants that can go deep into the lungs, causing major lung and respiratory diseases like asthma,  COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), lung cancer, etc. Air pollution sources can be the toxic gases released from vehicles, factory waste, wildfires, volcanoes, dust, pollen, etc.

Tip: Try to cover your nose with the help of a mask, hanky, or a piece of cloth when outside your home or in a public place. Avoid travelling at peak hours of the day when vehicle traffic is heavy.

Water Pollution

Life without water can never be imagined or possible and so, concerns regarding safeguarding the purity of water are increasing day by day. Humans have already caused irreversible water pollution majorly by releasing industry and agricultural waste into water streams. Domestic, agricultural, and industrial wastes like plastic, chemicals, trash, parasites, and bacteria can contaminate water to an unusable extent. 

Activities like swimming, agriculture, cooking, etc., become impossible with such contaminated water. Consumption of such toxic water can give rise to serious health complications like diarrhoea, dysentery, Hepatitis A, typhoid, jaundice, cholera, etc. 

Tip: Avoid drinking water from unknown and unreliable water sources. When travelling outside, make sure you carry your water bottle to avoid buying it from outside.

Climate Change and Rising Disasters

Climate change and its worsening effects are no more surprising. Every year, the climatic conditions are degrading which in turn, is causing not only damage to the environment but also to lives on Earth. The rising global warming and melting of glaciers, heat-waves, storms, typhoons, hurricanes, floods, droughts, landslides, wildfires, etc., are increasing each year. Such a devastating shift in the environment claims millions of lives each year.

Tip: Each one of us has to do our bit for nature and society. Careless and exploitative behaviour will only lead to further degradation of the environment and rising health complications. 

Deforestation

Deforestation refers to the cutting of trees on a large scale, majorly for infrastructural and industrial purposes. Gone are the days when wooden objects at home and wooden floors used to be a sign of luxury. The extreme need to save trees can be seen in large-scale campaigns across the globe and movements like the Chipko Movement of Uttarakhand. Deforestation gives rise to global warming and changing climatic behaviours. All these things, in turn, impact not just human health but also irreparably disturb the natural habitats of animals and birds.

Tip: Saying no to cutting off trees may not be sufficient. We also need to cover for the losses so far by caring for the trees around us and planting more for a better future.

Exposure to Certain Chemicals

Certain work environments, like those in factories, commercial agriculture, automotive industries, and chemical industries, can expose people at large to harmful chemicals. Pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, green gas emissions, etc., can affect human health in many ways. Allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer are some leading health severity caused by such an environment.

Tip: Following safe workplace practices and ergonomics can reduce the effects of chemical exposure on health. Wearing a PPE kit and maintaining cleanliness while eating or drinking are highly recommended.

Poor Infrastructure and Healthcare

The reason why many regions with low levels of development are associated with high risks of environmental diseases is due to a lack of good infrastructure. Good healthcare services, including advanced treatment and technologies at hospitals, are quintessential to ensure the well-being of individuals. However, in areas where the infrastructure is lagging and healthcare is yet to be developed, risks of high mortality are there.

Tip: The government has to take responsibility for the physical setting and ensure faster infrastructural developments. Modern developments and employability will boost the numbers of tax-payers and, thus, overall devlopment.

 Low Literacy Rates

Low-level literacy rates and lack of awareness are often linked with high risks of health problems. Inadequate knowledge of certain diseases and health complications can lead to delayed treatment or even premature death.

Tip: Awareness campaigns on common diseases and their quick treatment can help boost the knowledge of people, especially in poor regions. Education is another key factor that can improve the overall situation and bring new concepts for living that are beneficial for every living being.

 Health Insurance Policy

Often, due to lack of finances and poor living, people are forced to avoid proper healthcare services. The skyrocketing medical costs due to the high medical inflation rate (14%/ year) in India may leave behind those who do not have sufficient medical funds or a health insurance coverage. Hence, people need to understand the importance of a health plan. Along with awareness of the physical setting around and the impact of the physical environment on health, having a health plan is equally vital.

Tip: Among many other health insurers, Care Health Insurance offers a range of health insurance plans to suit different needs. One of our best-selling products Care Supreme comes with amazing features and benefits that cater to the different needs of an individual. Customise a health plan as per your specific requirements and relax in times of medical need. With our 22900+ cashless healthcare providers, keep your peace and pocket safe. 

Summing Up

Environmental factors affect human health and the lives of other living beings in various known and unknown ways. Quality of air, water, and even land plays a major role in determining the overall health of humans. What you drink, inhale, and eat directly impacts your health. It is not the duty of one but the whole of humanity to start bearing the responsibility for their surroundings and a better future. Your actions today define the upcoming future. Responsibly utilising natural resources, the physical environment and proper waste management can aid in the sustainability of our planet and humanity.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your general physician for verified medical advice. The health insurance benefits are subject to policy terms and conditions. Refer to your policy documents for more information.

 

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