Microplastics can cause us a variety of health problems and pose serious challenges to healthcare delivery.
A group of Dutch researchers recently Microplastics found in human blood, A stark warning about the dangers of these tiny particles, which could enter our organs and brains, has been revealed.
Microplastics are pieces of plastic too small to be seen by the naked eye, and they have been found in soil, air, water and food around the world. Scientists have hypothesized that these microplastic particles may harm our health.
Now, for the first time, scientists have confirmed that these plastic particles also enter our bloodstream. The team’s findings, along with other research on microplastics and human health, suggest that a serious medical crisis may be imminent.
Over the next few years, healthcare providers may need to reinvent themselves to meet the needs of patients with microplastic-related diseases.
The Dutch team examined blood samples from 22 healthy, anonymous volunteers and found microplastics in nearly 80 percent of them. Half of these blood samples showed traces of PET plastic, commonly used to make beverage bottles, and more than a third contained polystyrene, used in single-use food containers and packaging peanuts.
The team also found traces of PMMA, a transparent thermoplastic also known as acrylic or acrylic glass, where microplastics may enter the body through air, food, water, personal hygiene products and tattoo inks.
How do microplastics affect human health?
It has been suggested that ingested microplastics may affect human health by damaging cells and inducing an inflammatory or immune response. Many plastics also contain and leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that interfere with the body’s hormone system and may exacerbate or contribute to conditions such as diabetes, reproductive disorders and hypothyroidism.
In practice, microplastics can cause a variety of diseases, neurotoxicity, and metabolic disorders, which means that almost every part of the body may be susceptible to microplastic pollution.
Further research may be needed to determine how microplastics affect human health and to what extent the average person has microplastics in their blood and bodies. However, current evidence suggests that microplastics may affect our health and that long-term exposure to microplastics may lead to serious chronic health conditions.
Currently, healthcare systems around the world are undergoing major changes.In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the emergence of new medical technologies, many Organizations are digitizing their systems By providing services such as telemedicine, leveraging “smart” medical technologies, and leveraging analytics tools such as artificial intelligence.
These changes can help organizations address healthcare challenges that may arise from microplastic pollution. The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone aware of how healthcare facilities are responding to acute crises, such as the spread of highly contagious diseases.
However, if microplastics have the potential to cause serious chronic diseases, new healthcare strategies may be needed.
Is the healthcare system ready for the chronic disease crisis?
Chronic diseases account for 90 percent of annual U.S. health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many common chronic diseases are becoming more common.
The transition from acute to chronic disease has been underway since the 1950s, but as many healthcare experts have pointed out, the country’s healthcare facilities have not always been well prepared to respond to changing patient needs.
In the future, microplastic exposure may drive the development of chronic diseases. Microplastics may even have partly contributed to the rise in chronic disease rates. If so, microplastics may soon require a major shift in healthcare — one that adapts existing systems to better meet the needs of patients who may need long-term care.
Reforms, policies and technologies that help healthcare providers care for chronically ill patients will be invaluable. For example, an integrative and patient-centered approach to health care that can go beyond specific diseases and conditions could allow health care providers to more effectively support large numbers of patients with a variety of chronic diseases.
New technologies, such as smart health wearables and electronic health records, can also support healthcare providers. The use of telehealth can both increase access to healthcare and simplify the provider’s job.
However, many experts often recommend addressing chronic disease crises through behavioral interventions or programs that help individuals manage conditions (such as obesity and addiction) that lead to chronic disease. Because microplastics are so unavoidable, it may be difficult or impossible for patients to reasonably reduce their exposure to microplastics.
Therefore, providers may require non-behavioral interventions and institutional changes to manage microplastic-related health conditions. The potential microplastic healthcare crisis could also coincide with several other emerging health crises, such as post-COVID conditions, physician burnout, and rising healthcare costs.
Broad action required
Changes outside the industry may be required to support these institutions. Both individuals and organizations can take steps to limit the production of microplastics, for example, to potentially reduce the possible health effects of exposure to microplastics.
Government or private support for people with chronic conditions and the providers who treat them can help offset some of the economic impact of chronic conditions and ensure patients have access to treatment, even though treatment costs and challenges caused by their condition can create significant barriers to access to health care .
Microplastics could cause a major crisis in the healthcare system. By driving an increase in chronic diseases, microplastics could force major changes in the way providers deliver care.
In the near future, new technologies, new policies, and new healthcare strategies may be required to manage the increase in chronic diseases driven by microplastics.