By Dr. Shikha Sharma
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Tripple Whammy – Pollution, Obesity, Winters – Why are Winters Dangerous for Health

As the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, the winter season brings with it a unique set of challenges, particularly for our health. The combination of pollution, obesity and cold weather can create a triple whammy, posing numerous risks to our physical and mental well-being. In this article, we will explore why winters can be dangerous for our well-being if not taken care of!

Firstly, let’s discuss pollution, which is a global concern. During winters, pollution levels tend to increase to toxic levels. Smoke from stubble fires in the crop fields and emissions from Diwali firecrackers are some of the significant contributors along with other pollution sources. With the cooler temperatures and calm winds pollutants get trapped close to the ground, making it difficult for them to disperse. This creates a hazy layer of smog, known as ‘winter smog,’ which can have severe consequences on respiratory health, exacerbating conditions like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. Furthermore, oxidative stress-induced inflammation, coronary artery diseases, strokes, and even some types of cancer have all been related to higher risk being exposed to pollution.

Secondly, obesity is a major issue during winter. The colder weather often leads to decreased physical activity, coupled with the urge to binge on all things hot, sugary and deep-fried which are loaded with calories. This combination leads to weight gain and obesity, increasing the risk of various chronic diseases, including heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Weight gain and the resulting obesity can increase the strain on joints, leading to joint pain and complications.

Therefore, the combination of inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, and subsequent weight gain during winter further increases health risks. 

Cold weather in itself can directly impact our overall health. Exposure to severe cold can have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system, as blood vessels constrict to preserve body heat. This constriction increases blood pressure, putting individuals at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, our heart has to work harder during cold weather to maintain a healthy temperature. This raises the likelihood of cardiac arrest in patients who have elevated blood pressure or lung disease. Finally, reduced exposure to sunlight during the winter can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to weakened bones, muscle weakness, and compromised immune function.

So, triple whammy – pollution, obesity, and winter can have significant consequences on our health. The Higher levels of pollution, decreased physical activity, unhealthy eating habits and reduced exposure to sunlight all contribute to increased health risks during this season. To protect ourselves, it is crucial to adopt preventive measures such as maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, practicing breathing exercises and ensuring indoor air quality remains high. By being aware of these risks and taking necessary precautions, we can safeguard our health and well-being amidst the challenges that winter presents.


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