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פרופסור דוד שטרית - מנהל מערך הריאות בבית החולים מאיר בכ"ס

פרופסור דוד שטרית, מנהל מערך הריאות בבית החולים מאיר עונה על שאלות.

  • Is COPD a rare disease?
    Not true On the contrary. According to the estimates in Israel there are 400,000 patients with COPD, of which 3,000 die every year. "Unfortunately, smoking is still very, very common, so lung diseases as a result of smoking damage are also very common," says Professor David Shtrit. According to studies, between 70-80% of patients are not diagnosed and are not treated. This is due to the fact that a high percentage of smokers suffer from chronic lung disease, but they do not treat the symptoms of the disease abnormally, and only when they feel severe symptoms that do not go away even after antibiotic treatment, they actually come to a pulmonary doctor after there is already significant lung damage and some of the damage is already irreversible.
  • Is COPD a disease of adults?
    Not true "The earlier the smoking age starts and the greater the number of cigarettes, the more likely the disease is to appear at an earlier age. This is a lung disease that develops over years, and it is not uncommon to find people aged 40-45 who have COPD and even severe COPD"
  • Is this a disease that only attacks the lungs?
    Not true Another false myth. Today we already know that COPD is a systemic disease with other manifestations such as cardiac disease, high levels of depression, a tendency to pulmonary embolism or osteoporosis. "If we perform blood tests on a COPD patient, we will find that the inflammation indices are increased in him," adds Shetrit. Today the disease is seen as a systemic disease that many organs can be affected by. Of course the lungs are the main target but of course not the only one
  • There is nothing to report to the doctor about worsening cough or shortness of breath because it is part of the disease
    Not true Not true and even life-threatening. Any aggravation and bouts of coughing or shortness of breath can indicate progression of the disease. "In these cases, urgent intervention and the administration of antibiotics, steroids or inhalations is required," warns Shetrit. "Of course, you have to catch it in time and have an examination by a pulmonologist. You have to be alert for any change in the permanent condition and for symptoms such as cough or increased phlegm." Studies have found that 43% of COPD patients receiving regular treatment still suffer from exacerbations. Symptoms of COPD such as shortness of breath, cough and/or phlegm may not be reported by the patients, and even when there is a report, they do not always associate it with an aggravation. Exacerbations can be caused by infections caused by viruses or bacteria, very hot or very cold weather, and air pollution.
  • There are no effective treatments and it is not possible to reduce mortality in COPD?
    Not true There are quite a few effective treatments for COPD. "Of course, first and foremost is smoking cessation, but the disease is also treated with the inhalers whose purpose is to relieve shortness of breath and the daily cough, and of course to prevent exacerbations and bring about a significant decrease in the rate of flare-ups," explains Prof. Shetrit.
  • COPD patients are limited in their daily activities (can't leave the house in bad weather, don't get together, don't make too much effort)"
    Not true According to Prof. Sheetrit, nothing could be further from the truth. "For most COPD patients, our treatment is the same as for the normal population - everything they can perform, they should perform. On the contrary, we encourage them to perform physical activity, but nevertheless they must be attentive to the body, not perform what the body cannot perform. With proper treatment of the disease, it is possible To bring most of the patients to normal and routine daily functioning."
  • Are exacerbations and hospitalizations necessarily part of the disease?
    Not true Definately not. A patient who stops smoking and takes the correct preventive treatment with inhalers will usually not experience exacerbations and hospitalizations, therefore they are not a necessary part of the disease. In fact, as mentioned above, aggravations should be avoided. "As soon as there are exacerbations in COPD, they greatly affect the course of the disease and can lead to further deteriorations and exacerbations. That is why it is of fundamental importance to prevent the exacerbation by stopping smoking and treating with correct inhalers."
  • Is it better for patients not to exercise because physical exertion may worsen the disease?
    Not true Physical activity and lung rehabilitation are actually an integral part of the treatment of COPD patients. "Regular physical activity reduces the rate of flare-ups, reduces the anxiety and depression that can appear in some patients and greatly improves the ability to perform efforts, therefore it is an integral part of the doctors' recommendations," says Shtrit.
  • I was diagnosed with COPD, will quitting smoking no longer help?
    Not true The less the better, and the better to stop altogether. "Quitting smoking at any stage of the disease can be beneficial and reduce the future pulmonary damage to the lungs," explains Shetrit, "a break or even a significant reduction in the amount of cigarettes together with proper treatment with inhalers and encouraging physical activity, can balance the disease and prevent future deterioration."

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