It is evident that the ongoing climate change has affected human health and the consequences are expected to escalate in the coming decades. Since the lungs are designed to breathe almost 10.000 liters of the surrounding air in a day, the organs are permanently subjected to the surroundings. For this reason, the lungs are the first body organs that are affected by the changes in the environment.
The prevalence of respiratory ailments, particularly asthma and COPD is on the rise and increasing globally. People suffering from this respiratory diseases are vulnerable as regards to the environmental alterations due to the climate changes. For instance, heat-wave-related mortality has been found to be high on people suffering from respiratory diseases. Furthermore, heat stress causes high mortality risk of 43% among patients suffering from chronic lung diseases.
One of the notable underlying mechanism might be the hot and humid air that is experienced on heat days called the trigger asthma attacks. Additionally, warming temperatures will as well affect the quality of the air we breathe. Various air pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide or sulphur dioxide increases in warming temperatures with an elevated risk of asthma exacerbations. Similarly, patients suffering from COPD will be affected by exacerbations frequently due to increased air pollution and heat days. On top of that, air pollution escalates the exacerbation of existing respiratory ailments and it is also a causative factor.
On top of that, climate change increases the risk of numerous infectious diseases such as respiratory infections and those diseases that are transmitted by vectors like ticks and mosquitos. Furthermore, life-threatening weather occurrences such as thunderstorms are associated with outbreaks of asthma exacerbations by increasing inhalable allergen concentration in the atmosphere.
Due to global warming, the number and size of plants are increasing and also the amount of pollen and allergenic proteins created by each plants leading to the overall elevated risk of pollen allergies. Additionally, global warming will result in the continuation of pollen season and the occurrence of new allergens in temperate regions, making the control and therapy of asthma difficult in affected people.
Recently, many studies on climate change have been conducted. Those findings are aimed at investigating the impact of climate change on clinical outcomes of patients and on the health condition of the general public. Some of the parameters studied comprising the function of the lung, signs, hospital admissions and mortality. Nevertheless, the awareness and personal reactions of people suffering from respiratory disorders on the ongoing climate change in some areas has not been investigated. Hitherto, such patient-centered are essential since they help in developing strategies for information and interference on the susceptible populace.
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