Risk fac­tors for lung dis­eases

“Bron­chi­tis, Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (TB), Pneu­mo­nia and smok­ing-re­lated dis­ease Chronic Ob­struc­tive Pul­monary Dis­ease (COPD) are in my opin­ion the most com­mon [lung dis­eases]. Th­ese are of mul­ti­fac­to­rial eti­ol­ogy.”

Business World - - HEALTH+GUIDE - Sigour­ney V. Tulfo

IN A pop­u­lated city, main­tain­ing healthy lungs can be a chal­lenge. One might make healthy per­sonal choices but ex­ter­nal fac­tors and other peo­ple’s choices about man­ag­ing their bod­ies may con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of cer­tain dis­eases. While some can be man­aged with proper san­i­ta­tion and use of med­i­cal masks, other dis­eases can be mit­i­gated by not smok­ing.

“Bron­chi­tis, Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis ( TB), Pneu­mo­nia and smok­ing- re­lated dis­ease Chronic Ob­struc­tive Pul­monary Dis­ease (COPD) are in my opin­ion the most com­mon [ lung dis­eases]. Th­ese are of mul­ti­fac­to­rial eti­ol­ogy,” Dr. Nazario A. Ma­cal­in­tal, Jr., Doc­tor of Pul­monary Medicine at the Makati Med­i­cal Cen­ter, told Busi­nessWorld in an e-mail.

Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal shared the fac­tors that can con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of th­ese dis­eases such as en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, at­ti­tu­di­nal fac­tors and un­healthy choices caused by ex­ist­ing sys­tems.

Each dis­ease af­fects the lungs dif­fer­ently and ex­hibits dis­tinct dif­fer­ences.

The Mayo Clinic de­fines Bron­chi­tis as an in­flam­ma­tion of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. Peo­ple who have bron­chi­tis of­ten ex­hibit cough up thick­ened mu­cus, which can be dis­col­ored.

“Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, or TB, is a dis­ease caused by a bac­te­ria be­long­ing to a fam­ily of my­cobac­te­ria. The TB bac­te­ria is air­borne and there­fore one can get it sim­ply by in­hala­tion,” Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal ex­plained.

Pneu­mo­nia, on the other hand, is de­fined by the Mayo Clinic as an in­fec­tion that in­flames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (pu­ru­lent ma­te­rial), caus­ing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and dif­fi­culty breath­ing.

The Euro­pean Lung Foun­da­tion de­fines COPD as a long- term con­di­tion that causes in­flam­ma­tion in the lungs, dam­aged lung tis­sue and a nar­row­ing of the air­ways, mak­ing breath­ing dif­fi­cult.

Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal shared how en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors such as pol­lu­tion es­pe­cially from diesel ex­haust fumes can harm the lungs. Th­ese can be a re­sult of poli­cies that al­low for un­healthy prac­tices to thrive such as choos­ing pop­u­larly ad­ver­tised over-the- counter drugs to self- med­i­cate. “Our sys­tem al­lows so many medicines to be ad­ver­tised for this and that. Why not al­low pre­scrip­tion medicines to have the same but with bold re­minder ‘Avail­able in pre­scrip­tion only. See your doc­tor,’” Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal said.

He added that some of th­ese have not gone through sci­en­tific test­ing. In terms of peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes, Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal shared two sce­nar­ios. He ex­plained that while smok­ing is one of the main con­trib­u­tors to lung dis­ease, smok­ers do not of­ten re­al­ize its cost. “They have not seen the gar­gan­tuan fi­nan­cial im­pact of get­ting sick of COPD and al­ways, it is only at the end that they re­al­ize the bur­den,” Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal said.

The sec­ond sce­nario that Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal shared is the gen­eral at­ti­tude of Filipinos to wear­ing face mask when sick. He ex­plained that this “stigma” pre­vents lo­cals from prac­tic­ing a habit that will pre­vent the spread of sick­ness. “Lo­cal peo­ple gen­er­ally don’t wear mask when sick. Cough air­flow dy­nam­ics show about 8 me­ters per sec­ond trans­fer of those droplets. That is enough to in­fect peo­ple,” he ex­plained.

To main­tain healthy lungs, Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal rec­om­mended hav­ing an­nual med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions. It is a “pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure,” he said. “Do not as­sume that ‘ no symp­tom, no dis­ease,’ Learn from oth­ers.”

He also ad­vised con­sult­ing the doc­tor if one sus­pects that he might have a lung dis­ease. He also cau­tioned that while self- med­i­ca­tion might be an easy choice, know­ing the root of the prob­lem is still the best so­lu­tion. “See your doc­tor. Get ex­am­ined. Don’t call for pre­scrip­tion. They need to lis­ten to your lungs fi rst. Avoid con­sult­ing ‘ Dr. Web­site,’ It can­not talk back to you. It is a one-way street,” Dr. Ma­cal­in­tal said. —

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