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Understanding the Impact of Air Pollution on Asthma & COPD Exacerbation

Daniel Elkabetz

Most people are aware that air pollution affects people with sensitive lungs. The impact of air pollution can be immediate, but we often can't see it. So how can we protect sensitive groups from symptom exacerbation?

Asthma or COPD?

While the causes of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are different, the two conditions are often confused. Many of the symptoms are the same, for example shortness of breath, and the triggers for both can be in the environment around us. 

How to Protect Respiratory-Sensitive Individuals

Finding out that a patient has been exposed to dangerous environmental triggers is obviously too late. This why we need to make these invisible triggers, visible.

It starts with understanding what triggers the symptom exacerbation. For asthma, triggers could include allergens like smoke, industrial pollution, pollen and dust.

It is really important that patients with asthma and COPD obtain access to information about their specific environmental context in order to minimize the effects of their disease. Since air pollution is a major source of triggers, this should be a key consideration.

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The Role of Care & Treatment Providers

Medical devices companies, care providers and pharmaceutical companies can help people with these conditions better understand what's in the air they are breathing by incorporating real-time and forecast environmental intelligence into their treatment plans

Companies like Propeller Health and DailyBreath  are already doing just this. More than 100,000 people have used Propeller Health's doctor-recommended solution for COPD & asthma management and they've delivered highly successful results in clinical testing - including fewer symptoms after 1 month of use and up to 58% improvement in medication adherence.

In a large-scale research study conducted by the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, integration of environmental intelligence exceeded their expectations:

“patients with more severe, less controlled asthma symptoms appear to be more engaged and use our app more frequently...we hypothesize that these more severe sufferers are more motivated to contribute to medical research, and also have personally experienced the benefits of using the app as a 'reminder' for medication and self-monitoring of triggers and local air quality”. 

Download the eBook to explore this topic in more detail:

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