Salamat Dok: COPD and asthma

by Yam dela Cruz, Multimedia producer, Salamat Dok

Posted at Sep 24 2010 11:14 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2010 07:17 AM

 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are 2 of the leading causes of deaths in the Philippines and the world.

According to World Health Organization, 600 million people worldwide suffer from COPD while 12% of Philippine population of 90 million have asthma.
 
These alarming statistics are just one of the challenges that the international and national health organizations are facing. 

 COPD is a progressive disease that worsens over time, especially if left unchecked in the early stages. COPD makes it hard for a patient to breath. 

Dr. Olga Ruz, a pulmonologist who was a guest in Salamat Dok’s Sept. 18, 2010 episode, said that smoking, second-hand smoke and unhealthy environment are the main causes. Prolonged exposure to these irritants make the airways of the lungs become clogged and lose elasticity while the walls between the air sacs are destroyed, become thick and inflamed.
 
COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma. Some of the signs and symptoms are: cough, wheezing sound when breathing, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, difficulty in sleeping and chest tightness.
 
People who manifest these signs are advised to consult a medical specialist, totally stop smoking and avail of vaccines to strengthen their immune system.
 
Chest X-ray, CT Scan, blood analysis and lung capability are some of the diagnostic procedures in detecting COPD.
 
Asthma, on the other hand is usually triggered by allergens that cause the air passages to the lungs to swell, thus making it difficult for patients to breath. An asthma attack can be accompanied by shortness of breath and even wheezing. If the allergic reaction is severe, this can lead to anaphylactic shock and even death in extreme cases.
 
Case Study
 
Betty Pugosasuffered from asthma when she was 7 years old. The illness eventually vanished during her teen years.
 
Unfortunately, she had a relapse when she got married and discovered that her only son has the same illness. She and her son have been using Lagundi, an herbal medicine, whenever asthma attacks.

Health News: Pesticides 
 
Dr. Enrique Ostrea, meanwhile, has been conducting research on the link between pesticides and slow neuro-development. He invited 900 pregnant women in Malolos Bulacan and monitored them until after birth. He took hair and blood samples and meconium (first fece of an infant). From meconium, he found out the presence of propoxur, a toxic chemical used in some domestic insecticides.
 
Now Dr. Ostrea is sending an urgent message to pesticide makers to start labeling their products that it is hazardous to health. He believed this matter should not be taken for granted in a country where malaria and dengue are rampant.

Alternative Medicine

Lagundi is one of the ten herbal medicines endorsed by DOH  as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. It is considered a relief – but not a cure -- for asthma, pharyngitis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils and diarrhea. It is used also as treatment for cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders. It can also help alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox. September 18, 2010