What are the Health Risks of Living in an Overcrowded City like New York, San Francisco, or Las Vegas?

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Although living in overcrowded cities might seem like a dream full of fresh opportunities, it sometimes could negatively influence your health. The idea of enjoying New York’s skyline every day, embracing Las Vegas’s nightlife, or daily visiting San Francisco’s cultural attractions can excite you.

However, 9 out of 10 people living in urban areas experience air pollution, which increases the risk of developing respiratory illnesses like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as cardiovascular ailments such as heart attacks and ischemic heart disease.

What factors lead to health risks in overcrowded cities?

Some social and environmental factors lead to health conditions in overcrowded cities like Las Vegas, like dehydration or high levels of toxins in your system due to various factors. You also have higher exposure to contagious illnesses. 

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Air Pollution

Air quality is known to be poorer in metropolitan areas for many reasons. These areas use much more energy for transportation, electricity use, and heating.  The use of fossil fuels to generate energy results in higher concentrations of pollution than in less populated areas.

Air Pollution can raise the risk of lung cancer, respiratory disease, and cardiac conditions. Children, those who are pregnant, and older adults are most at risk for being negatively impacted.  People with certain health conditions, such as asthma, are at higher risk as well.

Inadequate green space

Due to the lack of green spaces in Las Vegas, people face disproportionately higher temperatures and lower air quality. Green spaces help minimize the urban heat island effect (heat trapped in built-up areas) and lessen the impact of pollution. 

Urban green spaces also significantly help physical and mental health.  Having the space to relax, socialize, and be more physically active helps reduce stress.  They also help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise.  Studies show that green spaces are important to general wellness.

Water contamination

Urban areas have a higher risk of water contamination for a number of reasons.  First, the industry is the primary contributor to water pollution, including the tannery, pulp and paper, textile, food, iron and steel, nuclear, and distillery industries, many of which are situated in or near metropolitan areas. Urban areas also pose a higher risk of contaminants such as microbials, pesticides, and microplastics.

What are the health consequences of unhealthy conditions?

Unhealthy conditions don’t provide a safe lifestyle, endangering humans’ overall well-being. Let’s look at possible consequences they can create because of the harmful effects.  

Respiratory diseases 

Inhaling air pollutants can aggravate your airways, leading to chest pain, coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, and shortness of breath. Exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide variety of respiratory illnesses, resulting in both short and long term effects. The acute impacts of pollution may show up hours or days after exposure, but other health effects, including chronic disease, stem from prolonged exposure.

Cardiovascular diseases

Air contaminants can enter your body circulation through your lungs and reach your heart when you breathe in poor-quality air. This can cause your blood arteries to become harder and more narrow, increasing the chances of heart attack or stroke in persons who already have heart and circulation issues.  A lack of opportunity and space to be physically active can also negatively impact the cardiovascular system.

Mental Health 

Living conditions in overcrowded cities may also influence mental health. Your body might feel stressed and irritated by every situation due to the constant stimulation of city life. This can increase our susceptibility to mental health issues like substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

Additionally, young adults, particularly millennials, frequently experience burnout, a stressful state of physical and emotional tiredness that can sap the joy from life. 

How to prevent it?

Reducing the risks mentioned in the article might seem complicated, but you can simultaneously prevent health-related issues and live in over-populated towns. The steps to avoid unhealthy consequences include:

  • Eat a balanced and diverse diet to ensure your body has the nutrients it needs
  • Make efforts to be physically active 
  • Go to the doctor regularly for preventative help like checkups and testing
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep daily and practice good sleep hygiene.

With these small actions, you can start your healthy lifestyle and reduce the harmful consequences of living in a more stressful metropolitan environment. 

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