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Alert against cooking wood smoke

Dubai, March 29, 2011

Smoke from a traditional Emirati cooking method using wood ‘tannour’ may increase the risk of a lung disease normally associated with cigarette smoking and needs further investigation, said researchers.

The first UAE study into the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was presented at the recently concluded Gulf Thoracic Congress 2011 in Dubai.

COPD is tipped by the World Health Organization to become the third leading cause of death globally by 2030, behind heart disease and stroke. COPD damages the lungs causing breathlessness which in the worst cases requires patients to be long-term drug treatment and oxygen therapy. Globally around 80 per cent of COPD cases are linked to cigarette smoking.

A new study carried out at Zayed Military Hospital, Abu Dhabi, which measured the lung function of 520 random patients aged 40-80 years, found that 33 per cent of those diagnosed with COPD had been exposed to environmental pollutants such as smoke from cooking wood, whereas just 24 per cent smoked cigarettes or had been smokers, and five per cent smoked shisha.

Overall findings showed the prevalence of COPD in the study group was 3.7 per cent, about the same as global prevalence of between four and six percent.

“This is the first-ever study to investigate the prevalence of COPD in the UAE, taking a special look at the local risk factors associated with developing the disease, other than cigarette smoking which is reported globally to cause 80 percent of cases,” said lead researcher Dr Ashraf Al Zaabi, head of the respiratory division, Zayed Military Hospital.

“What we can conclude from our study is that in those aged 40-80 years in Abu Dhabi COPD has a relatively low prevalence.”

“We also found a significant association between COPD and exposure to tannour which would be worth looking at as part of a further investigation, as well as the role cigarette smoking plays in COPD in the UAE to see if it has as big an impact as it does in other parts of the world,” he added.

The study’s findings were discussed at the Gulf Thoracic Congress as part of a session on COPD management which included a presentation from international expert in respiratory medicine, Professor Mario Cazzola, chief of the respiratory clinical pharmacology unit, University of Rome.

“COPD is under diagnosed and undertreated across the world and is the only major disease which is on the increase. So it is unsurprising that the World Health Organization has predicted that COPD will become the third leading cause of death across the globe, behind heart disease and stroke, by 2030,” said Prof Cazzola. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | Smoke | lung disease | COPD | Cooking wood |

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