Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and COPD

According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that the death rate from this cause in the world could increase to almost eight million in 2030.

If you have a history of smoking, get a chest X-ray. Photo: Private Collection

Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are two serious health conditions that are closely related to tobacco use.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that the death rate from this cause in the world could increase to almost eight million in 2030. Ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, tuberculosis and especially respiratory diseases are triggers for tobacco.

Regarding the number of Nueva EPS members whose condition is affected by this cause, the Promotion and Prevention Sector confirmed data up to September 2023, where a total of 47,650 users with a COPD diagnosis were identified, of which 58% are women (27,668 ) and 42% are male (19,982).

George Pirakiev, pulmonologist at IPS Clinicos, explains aspects of these diseases:

What is COPD and what can be its causes?

COPD is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the symptoms of which usually vary from person to person, with the most common symptoms being shortness of breath or a decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living, usually accompanied by wheezing or whistling. Happens with voices. during sleep. The process of breathing.

Can tobacco cause lung cancer?

Regarding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, it is known that tobacco is the main risk factor for this disease. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by 10 to 30 times compared to non-smokers. Since 1912, a direct link between tobacco and lung cancer has been observed, and the medical evidence supporting this link has increased significantly.

Factors such as the number of cigarettes smoked, genetics, duration of smoking, age of onset, and specific details of the cigarette (tar, nicotine, filters) may affect risk. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men worldwide and the second in women, with approximately two million deaths each year, a figure that continues to increase every year.

What consequences do these diseases cause in people?

The outcome of diseases such as lung cancer and asthma on patients’ lives depends on when the diagnosis is made, access to medical treatment and adequate follow-up. After diagnosis, quality of life deteriorates due to many factors.

The burden of symptoms causes suffering and limits the performance of daily activities, affecting work and economic income. There are also limitations in movement and sexual relations, which can lead to anxiety and depression.

The new EPS tracked 19,982 men diagnosed with COPD. Photo: Private Collection

Why are these diseases more complex in older adults?

Managing these diseases in older people is complex. With age, the ability of vital organs to respond to stress decreases, making it difficult to cope with chronic conditions such as COPD. In these diseases, which involve exposure to harmful substances or worsening respiratory infections, vital organs have difficulty responding, which can lead to less favorable outcomes.

Recommendations to prevent these pathologies

* Avoid coming in contact with harmful substances that enter the body through inhalation. Learn to recognize them and use protective equipment in high-risk jobs.

* You should be aware of the dangers of tobacco, inhalation of toxic particles and gases in hazardous work environments, and exposure to substances such as wood smoke, coal and others.

* Be careful in Bogotá, where pollution is common.

* Take care of your children’s lung health from an early age, as exposure to smoke and chemicals can affect their development.

* Get regular physical activity, get medical checkups, and, if you have a history of smoking, get regular chest X-rays and lung function tests.

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