Be smart about what you breathe. Smoggy days just got worse (and weirder): As air quality goes down, your risk of a burst appendix goes up, says a new...
Smoggy days just got worse (and weirder): As air quality goes down, your risk of a burst appendix goes up, says a new report from the University of Calgary.
In the study, researchers identified over 35,000 appendicitis patients and found that on days when ozone levels were slightly higher (but still within the “good” air quality range, according to the Environmental Protection Agency), there was about a 22 percent increase in burst appendix cases.
Okay, so you’re far more likely to suffer from allergies than a perforated appendix on a murky day. That said, animal studies show that air pollution particles alter gut microbes, which could induce inflammation in the intestines and potentially contribute to appendicitis, says study coauthor Gil Kaplan, M.D.
And while those findings haven’t yet been translated to humans, Dr. Kaplan says you can track the rise of appendicitis with the rise of air pollution levels. “Appendicitis is recognized as a disease of the modern times, having emerged in the western world following the Industrial Revolution,” he says.
The bottom line: This study is just another example of how the air you breathe could affect your health (previous research links air pollution to heart disease, stroke, and cancer). If you notice the signs of appendicitis—a dull or sharp pain near your lower right abdomen with vomiting—head to the doctor. But in the meantime, use these tips to clear the air both inside and outside your home.
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