Lung diseases and tobacco

Lung diseases and tobacco


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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