Do you smoke and live in the Negev? It turns out that you are in serious trouble –

by time news

2023-05-31 14:07:21

“Smokers and people suffering from lung diseases are advised to stay away from sandstorms and foggy conditions,” says Dr. Yael Raviv, Director of the Pulmonary Medicine Institute at the “Soruka” Medical Center, with important tips on the occasion of International No Smoking Day

On the occasion of International No Smoking Day: The residents of southern Israel face air pollution, sandstorms and an extremely high rate of smokers. The result: a record number of people suffering from lung diseases.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the frequency and intensity of sandstorms in the south of the country. Researchers from Ben Gurion University found already a decade ago, that there is a direct connection between the sand and dust storms and the rate of hospitalizations due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition, a link between the emission of pollutants from industrial sources and children’s health and the effect of chronic and acute exposure to airborne particles originating from the ground on lung diseases and heart diseases in the Northern Negev has also been proven. Add to that the fact that Beer Sheva and Ashkelon have one of the highest percentages of smokers and you get a worrying picture for the residents of the south.

On the occasion of International No Smoking Day, which will be celebrated on May 31, we met Dr. Yael Raviv, Director of the Institute of Pulmonary Medicine at the “Soruka” Medical Center in Be’er Shevaand we heard from her about the two common lung diseases – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, how to reduce the risk of exacerbations and how to manage the diseases – especially during the transition seasons.

“Asthma is one of the most common diseases in Israel. “At least 8 percent of the adult population suffers from asthma, which results from inflammatory processes that cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a feeling of pressure in the chest,” says Dr. Raviv. “Seasonal changes are one of the most prominent triggers, especially in allergic asthma. Sandstorms and haze aggravate conditions of rash and hay fever. We see an increase in calls to doctors during transitional seasons and during sandstorms.’

“Similar to asthma, so is COPD is a disease of the airways, which includes a mechanism of airway contraction, difficulty breathing and wheezing, but unlike asthma, which is based on attacks that come and go, COPD It is a disease that worsens over time and is defined worldwide as the third cause of death,” says Dr. Raviv. “There are about 400,000 patients in Israel COPD and 8,000 people die as a result of the disease every year. The disease results from smoking, including passive smoking, and, among other things, from factors such as working in an environment of industrial materials. According to studies we are aware of, of the people who smoke, between 30-40 percent will develop COPD in a significant way, of which 10-15 percent will be defined as moderate-severe, that is, they will need assistance with oxygen administration and may need a lung transplant. The national average of smokers is 25% of the adult population and in the southern region, as mentioned, the numbers are larger. This means that at least in the southern region alone, 75-100 thousand people are in danger every year of contracting this serious lung disease.’

Dr. Raviv emphasizes that there are a series of recommendations for people suffering from respiratory symptoms, or from lung diseases such as asthma and COPD:

  • awareness – to keep up to date with the changing weather conditions or the haze in the air and the need to spend as little time as possible outside the home/office on such days.
  • Regular medication – It is recommended for people who suffer from asthma and lung diseases to regularly use combined inhalers, which contain bronchodilators combined with an anti-inflammatory steroid. It is important not to settle for an inhaler that will only widen the airways and not treat the inflammation itself. In sensitive periods, the dose can be increased using inhalers. Of course, in an intelligent way. Treatment with an inhaler once a day can achieve asthma control and improve therapeutic compliance.
  • For COPD patients A triple inhaler is approved and available, which is recommended for suitable patients, and contains both bronchodilators and steroids and is recommended to be used once a day. The inhaler has demonstrated a reduction in exacerbations, hospitalizations and risk of death from the disease.
  • manage the disease – The goal is for the patient to manage the disease and not the other way around. For this, it is important to know how our body reacts, to know when an attack is approaching and to avoid unnecessary dangers. The motto is prevention instead of reaction to an attack.
  • In cases where it is a case of severe asthma that cannot be successfully treated by inhalers alone, there are targeted biological treatments that allow those suffering from severe asthma to be freed from severe attacks, drastically reduce and even wean off dependence on systemic steroids and live a quality of life. The biological treatments are given by injections simply and with minimal side effects and are included in the health basket.
  • Ongoing monitoring: It is important to perform a doctor’s assessment, including lung functions (spirometry) to diagnose diseases that make breathing difficult. Any worsening of the condition may lead to hospitalization and artificial respiration and significantly harms the patient’s quality of life.

“If we take into account the thousands of people who die every year as a result of smoking and passive smoking and the increase in the rate of smokers among teenagers, the inevitable conclusion is that nicotine withdrawal and smoking cessation are a critical step in improving the quality of life and preventing lung diseases. “For smokers and people suffering from lung diseases, it is recommended to stay away from sandstorms and foggy conditions and, of course, to keep medication and inhalers close at hand,” concludes Dr. Raviv.

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