Tag Archives: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Smoking-Related Illnesses Come with Significant Costs

Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products.

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine.

Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

Vintage Photo Girl SmokingWhen people inhale, they are ingesting a chemical parade that marches through the body’s vital organs. Mayo Clinic.com reviews the negative health effects throughout the body, including:

Lungs. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer. Smoking also is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.

Heart and circulatory system. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If people smoke more than 25 cigarettes daily, they have five times the risk of heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Cancer. Smoking is a major cause of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat (pharynx) and mouth and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias.

Appearance. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can dry and irritate the skin, as well as promote wrinkles. Smoking also yellows teeth, fingers and fingernails.

Fertility. Smoking increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.

Senses. Smoking deadens the senses of taste and smell, so food isn’t as appetizing as it once was.For most people, smoking cessation is difficult. In fact, quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things an individual ever does. A feature on MayoClinic.com explains why smoking cessation matters, what to expect and how to stick with it.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 10, 2008 

About the Mayo Clinic Website

Launched in 1995 and visited more than 15 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 3,300 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions, in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions, 16 healthy living areas including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic.

For more information, visit > The MayoClinic.com – Nicotine dependence

Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Part II

Over twelve million people currently suffer from Chronic Pulmonary Disease in American this year.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Take a moment and learn about treatments for COPD, and how the symptoms of this combination of diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) can be controlled.

Bronchodialators are one of the most used treatments and consist of several different types. Learn about several other options to treat this incurable disease.

click for > Part One: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Why Doesn’t Every Smoker Get Emphysema?

Researchers Say It Takes Genes, Viruses and Cigarettes

Physicians say that smoking is by far the biggest cause of emphysema, but why doesn’t every smoker get the disease? If you asked Michael Holtzman, M.D., that question, he might answer that for most cases of emphysema you need a mix of genes, viruses and cigarettes.

Emphysema and the associated condition of chronic bronchitis are both disorders that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Research by Holtzman and his colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that someone destined to suffer from COPD may start with a susceptible genetic makeup and then experience a severe viral lung infection in early childhood.

Young Woman Picture The infection could “reprogram” the cells of the lung’s air passages and sacs, and the reprogrammed cells could react badly if the same person took up cigarette smoking, leading to COPD some time down the road.

“Cigarette smoking has created a very large population of COPD patients worldwide,” he says. “At present, we can treat them with steroids to reduce inflammation, antibiotics to suppress infections, and oxygen to help their breathlessness, but the disease will still progress until it’s fatal. We need to find treatments that stop the disease progression and to do that we need a much better understanding of how COPD develops.”

Now Holtzman and his colleagues at the School of Medicine have obtained funds from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $14.9 million to establish a Specialized Center for Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR), an ambitious type of grant program meant to foster research that can quickly apply basic science findings to clinical problems.

Holtzman’s SCCOR program will take a comprehensive look at the molecular changes that occur as lungs become crippled by COPD, a disease that affects at least 16 million people in the United States today.

Lungs have a tree-like structure of intricately branching airways ending in tiny sacs or alveoli, which exchange gases between the blood and the air. In chronic bronchitis, airways overproduce mucus and become inflamed, obstructing airflow. In emphysema, alveoli are destroyed so they can no longer take up oxygen from the air. COPD patients can have both problems at once, and Holtzman and his colleagues are studying both issues.

Researchers will use newly developed imaging techniques, such as helium MRI, to look at the tissue of lungs removed from COPD patients undergoing lung transplants and home in on the tiny lung structures that are injured. “Then, if we find that a particular gene is overactive at a site where the disease is particularly severe, we’ll analyze the normal and abnormal function of that specific gene,” Holtzman says.

Holtzman notes that so far no other researchers have done this because it takes a combination of new imaging techniques, advanced gene analysis technologies and a highly active lung transplant program, all of which are on hand at the School of Medicine.

COPD Facts

  • COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the US and the 2nd leading cause of disability
  • COPD kills more than 120,000 Americans each year. That’s one death every 4 minutes
  • More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD
  • An additional 12 million likely have COPD and don’t even know it

For more information go to learnaboutcopd.org.

Source: Consumer Affairs Original Publication Date: January 22, 2007