Today is Clean Air Day, and we want to raise awareness about air pollution and the effects it can have on lung health.
Clean Air Day is a yearly event, organised by the Global Action Plan this years takes place on the 15th of June. The awareness day aims to inform people about the dangers of polluted air and its environmental health risks and how we can minimise air pollution to breathe clean air with healthy lungs – a cause that MAC wholeheartedly support and are dedicated to.
Air pollution can have both short and long-term effects on our lung health, and it can come from a variety of different sources, including industrial processes, energy industries, and road transport.
According to Public Health England, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, as long-term exposure to air pollution can cause chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer, leading to reduced life expectancy. In fact, it has been estimated that air pollution causes up to 36,000 early deaths every year.
The respiratory diseases can include asthma and some studies have shown that it could increase someone’s risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD refers to a group of lung conditions that cause breathing problems which include emphysema(damage to the air sacs in the lungs) and chronic bronchitis (infection of the main airways leading to long-term inflammation). These breathing problems typically get worse over time and can limit the ability to do normal activities like walking upstairs.
Although COPD is something that is mainly caused by smoking, air pollution could have an adverse effect on developing a lung condition like COPD.
Research has also suggested that air pollution is an under-recognised risk factor for developing other lung conditions such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). In this condition a person’s lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. It can cause shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and a persistent dry cough.
For those already living with COPD or IPF, exposure to air pollution could cause a flare-up. A flare-up, sometimes referred to as an exacerbation, is when symptoms worsen. People living with lung conditions such as COPD or IPF find that symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life and reduce the quality of life.
Whilst there are treatments available for lung conditions, such as inhalers, more research into effective treatments is needed, which is why lung health research is so important. As with all potential new treatments, clinical trials must take place to assess if the potential treatment is effective.
MAC Clinical Research are currently looking for volunteers with COPD or IPF to take part in their latest clinical research, which aims to improve the quality of life for those living with these debilitating conditions.
The clinical trials are running at several MAC Clinical Research clinics primarily across the north of England. Eligible participants for the trials will receive reimbursement for their time and commitment to the trial, travel expenses as well as a full medical check-up.