Effects of global warming on respiratory diseases
Background: Global warming is a consequence of air pollution resulting in climate change due to trapping of excess greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere that affects biodiversity and constitutes a serious health hazard, especially to the respiratory system. These greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide. They hold heat in the atmosphere thereby creating a greenhouse effect. The sources of these gases include human activities like industrial air pollution, burning of human waste, wood and forests, tobacco, fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal, deforestation and the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Climate change brought about by global warming results in storms, drought, and floods which can be of immediate threat to life, the respiratory system being particularly vulnerable because of the background air pollution. Effects of global warming on the respiratory system include potentially increased incidence (and/or worsening/exacerbations) of the following: bronchial asthma and other allergic diseases, infection (pneumonia and tuberculosis), parasitic lung diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, lung cancer and sudden death.
Aim: To create awareness and increase enlightenment about the very important subject of global warming and the lung.
Methods: A literature search on global warming and respiratory diseases was carried out through the internet (Google, Medline) and locally. Data synthesis was carried out and synchronized under the following headings: introduction, effects of global warming on respiratory diseases, respiratory diseases, and recommendations.
Conclusion: There is urgent need for control measures to be taken to mitigate the effects of global warming on the respiratory system.
Keywords: Global warming, respiratory diseases