From asthma to pneumonia or lung cancer: How pollution affects respiratory health

In addition to shortening life expectancy, pollution affects brain, cardiovascular and respiratory health. Breathing in polluted air can increase your risk of developing conditions such as asthma, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer. We explain how pollution affects our respiratory health.

Pollution may cause respiratory illness or worsen existing conditions

this environmental pollution It is one of the major health problems in the world.this is what he said Miguel BaruecoProfessor of Pulmonology at the University of Salamanca and Director of the Pulmonology Service at the University Hospital of Salamanca: “Humans breathe in approximately 10,000 liters of air every day, so Transport harmful substances in pollution to the respiratory tract and lungs From there it is very important to get to the rest of the body. “

Pollution directly affects respiratory health.Experts say that in many cases cause respiratory disease None of this would have happened without the aforementioned exhibition. On other occasions,Aggravate existing respiratory disease This can be caused by other conditions, such as smoking. “

Some cases of asthma or pneumonia linked to pollution

Barrueco said respiratory illnesses are caused by inhaling chemicals that can cause inflammatory diseases, such as asthma waves chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).Some studies show that air pollution is also related to Increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

The Spanish Society of Clinical Immunology, Allergology and Pediatric Asthma (SEICAP) warns that “air pollution poses a serious threat to the development of asthma in children”. Respiratory allergies or asthma in children, and its deterioration. ”

An article was published in european respiratory journal show 11% of new asthma cases among boys and girls in europe can be prevented. To do this, air pollutants must be reduced to thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization.

Barrueco assured that some pollutants “have been associated with increased incidence of respiratory infections and morbidity, hospitalization, or mortality due to respiratory infections. pneumonia“.

A study published in international environmental organization Indicates short-term exposure to ozone, a gas that contributes to global warming Linked to increased hospitalizations for pneumonia.

indoor air pollution Pneumonia caused by using biomass, such as firewood or dung, as fuel for cooking or heating can also increase children’s susceptibility to pneumonia, according to the World Health Organization.

Generally speaking, particulate matter pollution Increase in hospital admissions for children According to a study published in Respiratory Diseases Air & Waste Management Association Magazine.

Pollution also increases lung cancer risk

In addition, environmental pollution Carcinogenic to humansAccording to the International Center for Research on Cancer (IARC).In fact, a study published in the journal environmental health show 5% to 7% of lung cancer cases in Europe can be attributed to severe environmental pollution.Another survey was conducted by Lancet Oncology Confirmed that air pollution contributes to lung cancer incidence in Europe.

The air we breathe is polluted According to the Pan American Health Organization, Kurt Straif, head of the Monographs Department at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said:

Pedro Pérez Segura of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) explained this mechanism in the newspaper nation: “Continuous inhalation of these particles It damages the cells of our respiratory system When genetic defects accumulate to a certain extent, they cause cells to proliferate uncontrollably and tumors may eventually develop. “

Tips such as not to exercise in polluted environments and avoid the harmful effects of pollution as much as possible

Barrueco’s key recommendations for avoiding the harmful effects of pollution on respiratory health are no smoking.Experts also recommend Avoid enclosed spaces and heavily polluted outdoor spaces When possible. Wear a mask when you don’t have one. For example, at work or in heavy traffic.

Spanish Sports Medicine Society (SEMED) Recommendations Avoid physical activity outdoors In the case of severe air pollution. Despite the huge health benefits of regular exercise, “many activities occur outdoors and in urban areas where air pollution may be present.”

Physical exercise Increase the amount of air taken into the lungs: “This means that the body will have a lot of oxygen to supply to the muscles, and the lungs will filter a lot of atmospheric air, and if there are a lot of polluting elements, it will also breathe in a lot of that air.” Product.

SEMED advises that if air pollution is “not excessive” Exercise during less polluted times; Choose green spaceno traffic or closed; far from the road; any Use a mask.

“Less Mischief, More Scientific Rigor” is a project DKVHealth Editorial content from

Date this article was first published: February 2, 2022

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