Prof. Dr. Kosta Kostov: Bulgarians smoke a lot and breathe dirty air

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Prof. Dr. Kosta Kostov: Bulgarians smoke a lot and breathe dirty air
Prof. Dr. Kosta Kostov: Bulgarians smoke a lot and breathe dirty air

According to data from the Bulgarian Society of Pulmonary Diseases, about 13% of Bulgarians suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). About 90% of men and 80% of women with lung cancer got sick as a result of smoking, statistics also show

“Lung prevention is of utmost importance for early diagnosis. Through the special research spirometry, which measures the oxygen capacity of the lungs, diseases can be detected long before the first symptoms appear.

The carbon dioxide exhaled by the inhabitants of the house for more than a day in combination with the accumulated house dust are far more risky to he alth than the polluted air outside. Such an environment creates serious conditions for the development of allergies and asthmatic attacks in people with lung problems", explains pulmonologist Prof. Dr. Kosta Kostov, head of the Clinic for Lung Diseases at the Academy of Medical Sciences. The well-known specialist is also the editor-in-chief of the magazine "InSpiro" and a lecturer on pulmonary diseases at the Faculty of Medicine of the SU "St. Kliment Ohridski".

Prof. Kostov, according to the latest statistics, by 2020, respiratory diseases will be the third cause of death in Europe after heart attacks and cancers? How do you explain this - with the dirty air, with smoking?

- The number of cancer patients, people with heart attacks is decreasing, and those with lung diseases are increasing. This is the great paradox of the last decade. Heart and cancer diseases are again in first place, but there is a downward trend in them. Respiratory diseases, specifically COPD - on the contrary. It is currently the fourth leading cause of death in the world, but there is a tendency for the curve to rise. There is only one disease in the top ten - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is on the rise. The reasons - smoking, air pollution.

Sofia is one of the dirtiest cities on the continent. In terms of pollution, five Bulgarian cities are in the top ten in Europe. This filth, together with the poor conditions under which we live, the poor nutrition of the population, the specific lack of happiness, which is not at all unimportant, lead to the high rate of morbidity. In 2010, "Economist" magazine published an article in which it was written that Bulgarians are one of the unhappiest people in the world as a nation. In this paper, the authors made a connection between a country's income, annual per capita income, and happiness.

It is very important to have a good, happy life. Both spiritual and physical he alth depend on this. Bulgarians smoke a lot, live in a polluted environment, eat poorly, lead a tense, stressful lifestyle.

Explain what is pulmonary fibrosis?

- Do you remember how sometimes when you get cut or burned, the wound doesn't heal properly and instead of normal skin, it's covered with smooth tissue that stays forever as a scar?! This tissue does not have the same functions as he althy epidermal cells - it does not breathe and is not useful for anything. This is exactly what happens in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, only inside the lung - the damaged tissue is replaced by dysfunctional cells that significantly reduce the capacity of the organ and the ability to breathe. The fatal end for the person suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is inevitable in the next three to five years.

The disease is chronic, progressive and fatal

Prof. Dr. Kosta Kostov

Are the factors causing it clear?

- Its causes are still unclear. It is usually found in patients who are between the ages of 40 and 80, but the incidence is greatest between the ages of 65 and 79. The lung suffers from some kind of damage. Thus, a part of it disappears and is replaced by non-functioning tissue. It occurs in older age, usually around 65 on average. It is considered a smoker's disease, although it is not officially recognized as such. Unfortunately, Bulgarians are irresponsible enough for their he alth to quit smoking. Unhe althy conditions in which we work can also be a factor in triggering the disease.

What is the number of sick Bulgarians?

- The incidence of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Europe and North America is currently estimated to be 3 - 9 cases per 100,000 population. There are very few diagnosed in our country. In our VMA center, we have about 4-5 people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. If we consider how many there are in others, then more or less in Bulgaria no more than 50 people are known. If we have to be honest, however, they are probably much more, because many people do not know about their disease.

What are the first symptoms of the disease?

- Progressive shortness of breath with any physical effort and a dry cough are among the first symptoms. Most patients have symptoms between 12 and 24 months before being diagnosed and seeing a pulmonologist. Sometimes they are quite non-specific - weight loss, fever, fatigue, muscle pain and others. But the most important symptom is shortness of breath accompanied by low oxygen in the blood, dry cough.

Early diagnosis is very important, but also difficult. It often requires a biopsy. If we do not move for an early diagnosis and the patient comes in a late stage, there is simply no chance. The sooner we start, the better. There are medications that increase the patient's life expectancy. Treatment should start as early as possible and then there is a chance. Despite the successes of modern therapy, life expectancy remains severely limited.

What triggers asthma?

- Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Symptoms vary from person to person, and the causes are not always clear. However, one thing is common in all cases: when the airways come into contact with an irritant that provokes asthma, they become inflamed, narrow and begin to fill with mucus

Among the most common irritants are cold and flu epidemics, cigarettes, smoke, physical exertion and allergies that cause allergic asthma.

Allergic asthma is triggered by allergens, which cause the bronchial tubes to react to inhaled particles as obstacles. As a result, wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing appear. When it comes into contact with an allergen, the body reacts by starting to produce histamine, which is the result of a violent reaction of your immune system. After all, it is the histamine that is responsible for the symptoms that follow.

What causes bronchitis?

- Bronchitis is a disease of the respiratory system in which the lining of the lung bronchi is inflamed. The most common symptoms are cough, slightly elevated temperature, fatigue, pain in the throat and chest, wheezing. In most cases, bronchitis is caused by viruses, so it is more common during flu season. There are also bacteria that also threaten the bronchi, as well as inhalation of external irritants - cigarette smoke, fumes.

Usually bronchitis goes away on its own. If the cough intensifies and the temperature does not normalize, a doctor's consultation is necessary. Bronchitis comes in two forms: acute - lasts for several days or weeks, and chronic. Treatment is different depending on the cause. Cough medications that release secretions are suitable. Antibiotics are only used if a bacterial infection is thought to be present. The most common complication of bronchitis is pneumonia.

When is wet cough a serious cause for concern?

- There is a cause for concern when the cough proceeds with purulent sputum and elevated body temperature or there is hemoptysis. In these cases, the intervention of a specialist is necessary, because untimely treatment of a complicated infection or another process occurring with purulent sputum and hemoptysis can bring complications with a poor prognosis. Usually, in such cases, a more comprehensive examination is performed to rule out pneumonia or lung abscess, as well as other lung processes that require timely diagnosis and treatment. You should not panic with blood vomiting, because in more than 90% of cases it is not a serious disease. At the same time, however, this symptom should not be missed without clarifying the cause, which, although rare, can be serious.

What is bronchitis characterized by?

- Bronchitis is an acute or chronic inflammatory reaction of the respiratory tract - the bronchi, and can occur both independently and as a component of other lung diseases such as COPD, bronchiectasis, etc. By itself, if bronchitis is acute, it is not a particular threat to the body and can be cured without any residue. Acute bronchitis is most often of viral origin and occurs with manifestations in the upper respiratory tract, with simultaneous involvement of the trachea. It is often accompanied by a runny nose. Chronic bronchitis has a different prognosis, depending on whether it occurs with or without airway obstruction. The presence of chronic obstructive bronchitis is the most unfavorable option, because it is usually a component of a persistent, progressive disease known by the abbreviation - COPD.

How can one protect himself from respiratory problems in autumn and winter?

- The best measure if he is chronically ill with lung disease is to conduct proper treatment. This is the first. Appointed by an experienced pulmonologist. Second, vaccination is mandatory for me. I recommend it in late autumn - September and early October. As vaccination does not mean only anti-flu. Sometimes a pneumococcal vaccine is also given. Additional immunoprophylaxis is also done. Third, exercise. Maintaining good physical condition. Fourth, no smoking. Fifth, one to two glasses of red wine in the evening. And sixth - a happy life. Of course, a he althy lifestyle with a diet rich in vitamins, with predominant fruits and vegetables, fish and fish delicacies, nuts, with a minimal intake of meat and meat products is also important, regardless of what nutritionists from general practice tell you and convince you. The he althiest diet is the Mediterranean, which is rich in vegetable fats and fish.

Foods That Trigger Asthma Symptoms

Milk. Milk is an essential source of calcium. However, the link between milk and asthma has not been definitively confirmed and is often disputed among scientists. However, there are asthma patients in whom the exclusion of milk and milk products from the daily diet really has a beneficial effect on their disease.

People who are prone to dairy allergy from childhood can suffer from frequent wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. If you find that your symptoms are indeed caused by dairy products, find an alternative source of vitamin D and calcium.

Eggs. Allergic reactions to eggs are most common in children and usually disappear with age. Symptoms are triggered by raw or undercooked eggs. People prone to egg allergy should be sure to pay close attention to what is written on the labels of foods and medicines that may contain residues of egg products.

Wheat. Wheat allergy is usually caused by albumin and globulin acid in the grain. When these amino acids enter the body through the digestive system or through the lungs, the immune system reacts by creating the so-called immunoglobulin E antibodies. These antibodies then cause the actual symptoms of asthma to appear, such as wheezing and coughing.

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