Lung diseases and tobacco

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Adult long-term exposure to tobacco smoke and this is both active smoking and second-hand exposure, can cause loss of taste, chronic rhinosinusitis, in your nose and your sinuses, you can get chronic bronchitis and inflammation in the airways and the little tiny airways as well, with increased mucus production and reduction of the ability of your lungs to fight off infection. Our lungs are one of our first defences against the world. We breathe in viruses, bacteria, and substances all the time and our lungs have very good defence mechanisms about fighting off viruses and bacteria but in people who smoke tobacco or who are exposed to significant tobacco smoke, have a reduction in their ability to fight off infections. We know that people who are exposed, get more infections, they get more viral infections, they get more severe viral infections both colds and influenza, they get more pneumonia and significant bacterial and unusual infections and that’s a real problem, you can imagine in children how this can really affect their health. In addition people with underlying airways disease like asthma, which is one in 10 adult Australians, or other lung conditions like bronchiectasis, it makes the airways disease worse so it’s hard to control their asthma, it’s harder to to stay well and keep their lung health well maintained and then we know that one of the big long-term effects on lung health is the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is what many people talk about is emphysema. There’s both destruction of the little tiny air sacs in the lung and also permanent narrowing of the tubes, and COPD as doctors call it or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is the fourth biggest cause of death in Australia and causes terrible disability and shortening of life, it’s a really awful disease and I have so many patients suffering from it in hospital and it really affects many people in our community. In addition it can also cause more fibrotic changes in the lungs and all that chronic inflammation can lead to malignancy or cancer development as well.

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