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“Asthma is chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways in which many cells and cellular elements play a role. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing particularly at night or in the early morning. These episodes are usually associated with widespread, but variable airflow obstruction, within the lung that is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment.” GINA, 2012.
Asthma is often caused by allergic inflammation, which is due to sensitization to indoor allergens (house dust mites, molds, animal dander, feathers), sometimes by pollens, food, medicines, irritants. Avoiding the allergen which causes the exacerbations and asthma attacks may alleviate or even heal the allergic inflammation and plays significant role in the treatment and prevention of this disease.
Allergic rhinitis is clinically defined as a sypmptomatic disorder of the nose induced after allergen exposure by an IgE-mediated inflammation. Allergic Rhinitis is subdivided to IAR and SAR disease. The severity of Allergic Rhinitis can be subdivided to ‘mild’ or ‘moderate/severe’. Allergic Rhinitis impairs the quality of life, sleep, school and work. Many non-allergic triggers induce nasal symptoms which mimic allergic rhinitis. They include drugs (aspirine and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents), occupational agents, foods, physical, emotional and chemical factors and viral infections. ARIA 2008
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis refers to an inflammation of the lungs caused by repeated breathing in of a foreign substance, such an organic dust, a fungus, or a mold. The body's immune system reacts to these substances, called antigens, by forming antibodies, molecules that attack the invading antigen and try to destroy it. The combination of antigen and antibody produces acute inflammation, or pneumonitis (a hypersensitivity reaction), which later can develop into chronic lung disease that impairs the lungs' ability to take oxygen from the air and eliminate carbon dioxide.
“Atopic dermatitis: A skin disease characterized by areas of severe itching, redness, scaling, and loss of the surface of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is frequently associated with other allergic disorders, especially asthma and hay fever. A defect of the immune system within the skin has been detected in patients who have atopic dermatitis, but the reason for the defect is unknown.” MedicineNet.com
Contact dermatitis is the name for any skin inflammation that occurs when the skin's surface comes in contact with a substance originating outside the body. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis, irritant and allergic.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a preventable and treatable disease with some significant extrapulmonary effects.
The pulmonary component is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible.
The airflow limitation in COPD is usually progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles and gases
Severe COPD leads to respiratory failure, hospitalization and eventually death from suffocation.
Main risk factors: tobacco smoke, occupational pollution, indoor and outdoor allergens and irritants, respiratory infections, poor financial status.
Bacteriaare single-celled organisms. There are thousands of types of bacteria, and they live virtually anywhere. Bacteria are much bigger than viruses. Bacteria are much more complex than viruses. Bacteria have the tools to reproduce themselves, by themselves. They are filled with fluid, and may have threadlike structures to move themselves, like a tail. Examples of common bacteria include ecoli and salmonella.
Virus. A virus may have a spiny outside layer, called the envelope. Viruses have a core of genetic material, but no way to reproduce it on their own. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own. They infect cells and take over their reproductive machinery to reproduce. Examples of viruses include the flu and MRSA.
Diseases and pathologic conditions caused or exacerbated by impaired indoor ecology.
· Sick building syndrome and building-related asthma
Experts coined the term "sick building syndrome" to describe acute symptoms that occur only during time spent in a particular building and that cannot be explained by any specific illness or cause. Symptoms include headache, dry cough, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, and irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. Typically the symptoms improve after you leave the building.
Poor ventilation that restricts fresh air flow inside can be a cause of sick building syndrome. Carpet, adhesives, upholstery, manufactured wood, pesticides, and cleaning fluids can give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde. High concentrations of VOCs can cause cancer. Unvented gas and kerosene space heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces, and gas stoves can produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Outdoor sources of chemicals can also cause sick building syndrome. Pollutants from cars and trucks and exhaust from plumbing vents and building machinery can enter a building through vents.
Building-related asthma is the term used when symptoms of a diagnosed illness can be linked directly to airborne contaminants within a building. Symptoms include cough, chest tightness, and wheezing. Leaving the building may not immediately improve the symptoms.
Nowadays most people spend more than 90% of their lives indoors. Over the past 30 years, the home environment has changed enormously with the introduction of soft furnishings, fitted carpets, and central heating. Indoor ventilation has decreased—the rate at which indoor air is exchanged for fresh air is now 10 times lower than it was 30 years ago, with a considerable increase both in humidity and in concentrations of indoor pollutants and airborne allergens. As exposure to allergens is an important cause of symptoms in sensitised patients, reducing exposure should improve disease control
Every home harbors potential allergens, from the rare to the ubiquitous, but these five are the most common triggers for indoor allergies: