Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a complex and debilitating respiratory condition. It is closely related to air quality. COPD has a high prevalence and is often under-reported. It is important to understand the connection between COPD and the quality of the air we breathe.
In this regard, Dr. Sandeep Jain, who is a consultant in pulmonology at Narayana Hospital, Howrah, said, “COPD primarily comprises two major components: chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which persistently restrict airflow. “Air quality plays an important role.” role in exacerbating these conditions.”
What is poor air quality?
Dr Pawan Yadav, a leading consultant in Interventional Pulmonology and Lung Transplantation (Aster RV Hospital), said, “Air quality is assessed based on the concentration of pollutants present in it, including particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), and lead. Poor air quality is characterized by high levels of these pollutants, which are similar to vehicle emissions. , can result from a variety of sources such as industrial activities and natural events such as wildfires.”
“Air Quality Index (AQI) is a commonly used metric to measure air quality. AQI values greater than 100 are generally considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including COPD patients,” he said.
Poor air quality and its harmful effects on COPD patients
“Poor air quality, including high levels of particulate matter, airborne pollutants and irritants, has a detrimental effect on the management of COPD. Inhaling airborne particles such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Inhaling and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can trigger a cascade of inflammatory reactions in the airways. These irritants cause mucus production, airway constriction, and damage to the delicate alveoli, leading to air trapping and reduced gas exchange. “Such events are particularly worrisome for COPD patients, making their already compromised lung function even worse,” he added.
Additionally, Dr. Vigyan Mishra, head of lab at Newberg Diagnostics, said, “Particulate matter generated from sources such as vehicle emissions and industrial processes, penetrate deep into the respiratory system, causing inflammation and tissue damage. VOCs, paint and Released from a variety of sources, such as solvents, irritates the airways and worsens COPD symptoms. Nitrogen oxides, primarily from vehicle exhaust, can cause narrowing and inflammation in the airways.”
“Long-term exposure to these pollutants can worsen COPD symptoms and accelerate disease progression. COPD patients exposed to air pollution experience more frequent disease exacerbations and hospitalizations Additionally, pollution-induced oxidative stress causes further damage to lung tissue and compromises the body’s ability to repair itself.” Added.
Strategies for COPD patients:
Dr. Pawan Yadav told the following things:
- Limit outdoor exposure:
- Avoid going out when AQI is high.
- If outdoor activity is unavoidable, try to limit the duration and intensity of exposure.
- Indoor Air Purification:
- Use an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove airborne particles.
- Keep windows closed to prevent entry of external pollutants.
- Ventilation Management:
- Properly ventilate the home when outdoor air quality is good.
- Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to remove indoor air pollutants.
- face masks:
- Use an N95 respirator when going out, especially during smog or haze.
- Regular medicine:
- Always have prescribed medications available.
- Use long-term control medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- emergency Preparedness:
- Outline a rapid action plan in consultation with your healthcare provider.
- Keep an emergency kit that includes medications, a nebulizer, and important contacts.
- Exercise indoors:
- Opt for an indoor exercise regimen such as walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bicycle, or guided breathing exercises.
- Nutritional Support:
- Maintain a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, which can help combat oxidative stress induced by pollutants.
- Regular Health Checkup:
- Regular visits to healthcare providers for lung function tests and medication adjustments can help better COPD management in the face of poor air quality.
- Educational Empowerment:
- Equip yourself with knowledge about the latest research and recommendations on COPD management through consultation with trusted medical journals and healthcare providers.
(Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified person regarding any medical condition. healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding.)