I was diagnosed with Bronchitis as I was leaving for my MBA at the University of Michigan. The doctor advised me that the best course of action would be to leave India, which I was doing anyways. He said exposure to pollution triggered the illness and I would have much less exposure. Given that I was leaving to study anyways, I figured I should carry my bronchitis with me. My time in Ann Arbor did result in a reduced incidence of inflammation, but I would still fall sick often. Physically, I was dealing with the problem trigger down and not source up. Let me explain.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of your bronchi triggered by say pollution. Your bronchi inflame, ironically to protect you, as your body believes it is being attacked. Often GERD is a partner in crime to Bronchitis. Inflammation is the cause triggered by poor diet, lack of exercise and possibly poor sleep. So shouldn’t you be dealing with the cause and not the trigger? Well in my case, that is what I was doing. I was running away to less polluted climes instead of solving the root of the problem. When I returned to India, I would promptly fall sick if I stood on the road for longer than a minute.

I now frequently run on the streets of India. Barring Delhi (sorry but it is extremely polluted), I have not encountered any significant challenges in most major cities. No, I didn’t suddenly realise that I was Superman in hiding. I wasn’t hit by lightning either. I just dealt with the cause. Inflammation! I changed my diet and started sleeping better. The lifestyle change helped create the desire to be physically active. I have shed bronchitis, GERD and a fatty liver to boot. I have not been this super fit in the past few decades. Sssshhh – don’t tell anyone that I am superman in hiding.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.