Pollution and respiratory health

The health of the planet is directly related to the health

A healthy planet provides us with our most basic needs

Fertile land for food production
Safe water to drink
Clean air to breathe

Global warming is degrading our planet’s life support system and threatening our ability to thrive and survive.

Furthermore, climate change is happening faster than previously thought and represents an urgent global crisis that requires a bold and united response.

In addition, it has been identified as the most important health threat of the century, but it is also the “greatest opportunity to redefine the social and environmental determinants of health”.

Everyone working in health and care must prepare to respond to the health impacts of the climate crisis.

The climate crisis has a major impact on health

Global temperatures are rising at a dizzying rate, driven by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

These gases, the best known of which is carbon dioxide, are largely the result of burning fossil fuels.

On the other hand, temperatures continue to rise and are expected to exceed the threshold by 1.5 to 2 degrees.

For this reason, this will cause unprecedented changes in climate systems, with devastating impacts on human health and well-being.

The science is unequivocal; a global rise of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average and continued biodiversity loss threaten catastrophic health damage that will be impossible to reverse.

Environmental pollution and its effects on patients with COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major problem due to its high prevalence and morbidity and mortality, assuming a high socioeconomic cost.

The main causal agent of this disease is tobacco use.

Although other risk factors are currently recognized that can contribute to its development and favor its progression, such as environmental pollution.

One of the main mechanisms responsible for the adverse effects of pollution on respiratory health is oxidative stress.

Other deleterious effects of environmental pollution on the airways include inflammation, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, amplification of viral infections, and reduced mucociliary clearance.

Numerous studies have shown that air pollution plays a crucial role in the development of exacerbations suffered by COPD patients.

Pollution and the impact on respiratory health

Dr. Javier de Miguel Díez
Servicio de Neumología. 
Hospital Universitario Greogrio Marañón. Madrid

Thus, various meta-analyses and systematic reviews have shown that there is an association between short-term exposure to various environmental pollutants.
In addition to the risk of exacerbations, hospital admissions and mortality from this disease.
On the other hand, in a recent study carried out in our country in which more than 160,000 patients were analyzed over a period of 10 years.

Doctor Javier de Miguel Díez from the Pneumology Service, at the Greogrio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid, concluded that the temperature and the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and particulate matter ( PM10), affected lung development.

On the other hand, they were significantly associated with hospital admissions for COPD exacerbation and in-hospital mortality.

Scientific and medical evidence

There is increasing evidence indicating that environmental pollution not only worsens the disease, but also contributes to reduced lung function in exposed individuals and increases the prevalence of COPD.
Air pollution has a significant impact on lung maturation and development.

However, it has been shown that long-term improvements in air quality can translate into a favorable effect on lung function parameters.

This reinforces the importance of implementing strategies aimed at reducing air pollution, to preserve lung health, prevent the development of COPD, and avoid worsening of patients who already suffer from this disease.

Centro Andaluz Alfa-1