Higher death risk in bronchiectasis patients living nearby major roadways

Among those with bronchiectasis living close by major roadways, the risk of death is higher, according to information presented in the European Lung Foundation (ELF) press release: “Road Traffic Pollution Increases Risk of Death for Bronchiectasis Patients.”

“A new study, presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Barcelona [Spain] today (8 September 2013), has added to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the damaging effects of road-side pollution,” the ELF reported.

“Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus. It can be caused by cystic fibrosis (CF), and experts usually categorise the condition as cases either due to CF or not,” the ELF continued.

On Aug. 29th I presented a series of posts dealing with the installation of American-based freeway-proximate air pollution monitors in “TIFFS: EPA orders emissions monitoring along highways” and “EPA orders U.S. highways emissions monitoring (cont.).”

Human_respiratory_system-NIH[1] (340x226)I wrote in the latter article, “That a move like this has become a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement in the 21st century is, well, sad commentary in my opinion. What it means to me is that a problem that has existed for some time has now gone on too long. That problem: heavily-trafficked-highway-proximity-related, life-impacting, motor-vehicle-exhausted, toxic emissions releases.”

Back to the study in question, the farther a bronchiectasis patient lived from an active highway the likelihood of death from the disease was less, according to the ELF.

“Lead author Pieter Goeminne, said: ‘Our results are the first to link air pollution with the risk of death in people with bronchiectasis and adds to a number of other studies showing the dangers of living close to a busy road. The findings of this study should encourage policymakers to make air quality a key focus of transport policies and consider the proximity of main roads to residential areas,’” the ELF reported in citing Goeminne.

One can only hope.

Although outside the scope of the study, apparently, is the effect air pollution in general has on those suffering from bronchiectasis. One question I should be asking here is: If there is an increased risk of death in bronchiectasis patients residing nearby active freeways, would the same not hold true for said patients living in areas plagued by air pollution as well?

Finding an answer to this question would seem to me a logical next step.

Bronchiectasis has no known cure.

For more on bronchiectasis, see: “Bronchiectasis” here.

Image above: U.S. National Institute of Health: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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