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Celebrating National Lung Month by breathing hope against lung diseases

The event “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” was put up by the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations, Psoriasis Philippines, Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders, Scleroderma Awareness Philippines, and Philippine College of Chest Physicians, supported by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc.

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Last August, in celebration of National Lung Month, frontrunners in the Philippine healthcare industry coalesced to increase public education on various lung diseases. The event “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” was put up by the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations, Psoriasis Philippines, Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders, Scleroderma Awareness Philippines, and Philippine College of Chest Physicians, supported by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc. 

Held at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila, the event was attended by esteemed healthcare experts who shared fruitful insights on popular and lesser-known respiratory diseases, and the basics of lung care. 

“This National Lung Month is a good opportunity for us to focus the public’s attention on respiratory wellness, spread more awareness on the different kinds of lung disease, and call on a collective movement to support healthier air,” said Dr. Mae Campomanes, Chair for the Council on Occupational and Interstitial Lung Diseases, PCCP. 

The “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” event took guests on various forum talks, pocket activities, and wellness exercises, such as Breathwork Practices and Shibashi — an 18-posture exercise that coordinates movement with breathing and concentration. It was then followed by a meditational walk in the historic Arroceros Forest Park. Known as “Manila’s last lung”, the Arroceros Forest Park was a catalyst for better and healthier environment in the aim of fostering lung health. The walk was done in solidarity of all partners to focus the public’s attention on respiratory wellness and to encourage participants to make a personal pledge to supporting lung health. 

Leading the fight against lung diseases 

In 2022, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 300,000 cases of acute respiratory infection over the course of six months. Among the most common lung diseases known to Filipinos are asthma, a disease of the airways in the lungs caused by inflammation; pneumonia, which happens when fluids build up in the lungs; tuberculosis (TB), a contagious disease caused by germs; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammation that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Other rare lung diseases that are equally important, but which are difficult to diagnose are interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is a group of disorders that cause progressive scarring of lung tissue.  

“There’s a wide range of topics for us to touch on regarding respiratory wellness. We at Boehringer Ingelheim, are committed to supporting our health organizations and medical societies to further increase disease education. We want to help push prevention and early diagnosis at the forefront so we can safeguard the health of many Filipinos,” said Dr. Greta Cortez, Head of Medicine for Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc.  

Through the “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” event, advocates champion the patients’ quality of life by putting importance on prevention and early detection. This educational discussion, in honor of National Lung Month, aims to inform the public about the predispositions and risks associated with common to life-threatening respiratory diseases. 

References:  

Philippine records 300,000 cases of acute respiratory infection | Philstar.com 

https://legacy.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/3174828597!.pdf

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Acetaminophen reduces sepsis patients’ risk of having organ injury

Intravenous acetaminophen was safe for all the sepsis patients, with no difference in liver injury, low blood pressure, or other adverse events compared to the placebo group. Among secondary outcomes, they also found that organ injury was significantly lower in the acetaminophen group, as was the rate of acute respiratory distress syndrome onset within seven days of hospital admission.

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Intravenous acetaminophen reduced sepsis patients’ risk of having organ injury or developing acute respiratory distress syndrome, a serious condition that allows fluid to leak into the lungs.

This is according to a study, “Phase 2b Randomized Trial of Acetaminophen for Prevention and Treatment of Organ Dysfunction in Critically Ill Sepsis Patients”, that appeared in JAMA.

As FYI: Sepsis is the body’s uncontrolled and extreme response to an infection. In sepsis, red blood cells become injured and die at abnormally high rates, releasing so called “cell-free hemoglobin” into the blood. The body becomes overwhelmed and can’t remove this excess hemoglobin which can lead to organ damage.

While the trial did not improve mortality rates in all patients with sepsis regardless of severity, the researchers found that acetaminophen gave the greatest benefit to the patients most at risk for organ damage. With the therapy, those patients needed less assisted ventilation and experienced a slight, though statistically insignificant, decrease in mortality.

To test the therapeutic potential of acetaminophen more fully in a mid-stage clinical trial, researchers enrolled 447 adults with sepsis and respiratory or circulatory organ dysfunction at 40 US academic hospitals from October 2021 to April 2023.

Patients were randomized to receive either acetaminophen or a placebo intravenously every six hours for five days. The researchers then followed the patients for 28 days to see how they fared. They also completed a special analysis using data only from the patients with levels of cell-free hemoglobin above a certain threshold. The team’s primary interest overall was the number of patients who were able to stay alive with no organ support, such as mechanical ventilation or kidney failure treatment.

Scientists note that identifying high levels of cell-free hemoglobin as a biomarker that could be tested when patients are first admitted to the hospital would be a breakthrough, because it could help quickly determine which patients with sepsis might benefit from acetaminophen therapy.

The researchers found that intravenous acetaminophen was safe for all the sepsis patients, with no difference in liver injury, low blood pressure, or other adverse events compared to the placebo group. Among secondary outcomes, they also found that organ injury was significantly lower in the acetaminophen group, as was the rate of acute respiratory distress syndrome onset within seven days of hospital admission.

When looking more closely at the patients with higher cell-free hemoglobin, the researchers found that just 8% of patients in the acetaminophen group needed assisted ventilation compared to 23% of patients in the placebo group. And after 28 days, 12% of patients in the acetaminophen group had died, compared to 21% in the placebo group, though this finding was not statistically significant.

“While the anticipated effects of acetaminophen therapy were not realized for all sepsis patients, this study shows that it still holds promise for the most critically ill” said James Kiley. “Though, more research is needed to uncover the mechanisms and validate these results.”

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Extreme heat associated with children’s asthma hospital visits

Daytime heat waves were significantly associated with 19 percent higher odds of children’s asthma hospital visits, and longer duration of heat waves doubled the odds of hospital visits. They did not observe any associations for nighttime heat waves.

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For children seeking care at urban pediatric health centers, extreme heat events were associated with increased asthma hospital visits.

This is according to research published at the ATS 2024 International Conference.  

“We found that both daily high heat events and extreme temperatures that lasted several days increased the risk of asthma hospital visits,” said corresponding author Morgan Ye, MPH, research data analyst, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. “Understanding the impacts of climate-sensitive events such as extreme heat on a vulnerable population is the key to reducing the burden of disease due to climate change.”

For this study, Ye and colleagues looked at 2017-2020 electronic health records from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, which included data on asthma hospital visits by patients of the hospital, some of whom are from Benioff Oakland’s Federally Qualified Health Center, and demographics including patients’ zip codes. They used data from the PRISM Climate Group of Oregon State University to determine the timing of daily maximum (daytime heat waves) and minimum (nighttime heat waves) for each zip code. The researchers restricted their analyses to the region’s warm season (June to September). To evaluate the potential range of effects of different heat wave measurements, they used 18 different heat wave definitions, including the 99th, 97.5th and 95th percentile of the total distribution of the study period for one, two or three days.

They designed the study in a way that allowed them to determine the association between each heat wave definition and a hospital visit. They repeated the analysis for Bay Area and Central California zip codes.

The team discovered that daytime heat waves were significantly associated with 19 percent higher odds of children’s asthma hospital visits, and longer duration of heat waves doubled the odds of hospital visits. They did not observe any associations for nighttime heat waves. 

According to Ye, “We continue to see global temperatures rise due to human-generated climate change, and we can expect a rise in health-related issues as we observe longer, more frequent and severe heat waves. Our research suggests that higher temperatures and increased duration of these high heat days are associated with increased risk of hospital visits due to asthma. Children and families with lower adaptation capacity will experience most of the burden. Therefore, it is important to obtain a better understanding of these heat-associated health risks and susceptible populations for future surveillance and targeted interventions.”

The authors note that past research has suggested positive associations between extreme heat and asthma, but findings regarding hospitalizations and emergency room visits have been conflicting. Additionally, many other studies have focused on respiratory hospitalizations and not hospitalizations for asthma, specifically, and have not included or had a focus on children. This study is also unique because it investigated the effect of daily high temperatures but also the effects of persistent extreme temperatures.

This study demonstrates that even milder extreme heat temperatures may significantly impact health. These effects are more pronounced in climate-susceptible populations, including children and those who are medically vulnerable, such as those served by the urban pediatric health center in this study. The authors hope these study results will lead to more equitable health outcomes and reduce racial/ethnic disparities observed in climate-sensitive events.

“These results can be used to inform targeted actions and resources for vulnerable children and alleviate health-related stress during heat waves,” they conclude.

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Pru Life UK employees participate in annual blood donation drive with Philippine Red Cross

The life insurer also advocates health and safety protection, especially for families in need. In partnership with the Philippine Red Cross, Pru Life UK employees are engaged in blood donation drives, contributing to a safe and quality blood supply for the Filipino community.

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Pru Life UK’s commitment to supporting communities goes beyond financial education and inclusion. The life insurer also advocates health and safety protection, especially for families in need. In partnership with the Philippine Red Cross, Pru Life UK employees are engaged in blood donation drives, contributing to a safe and quality blood supply for the Filipino community.

The blood donation drive has been an integral part of Pru Life UK’s community investment programs since 2016. To date, close to 500 bags of life-saving blood have been donated by PRU employees and agents. Sustainability Changemakers, Pru Life UK’s volunteerism program, engages its people to take part in supporting communities in need.

“My younger brother needed to get immediate surgery during pandemic. Imagine the feeling of being helpless with hospitals saying no to my brother’s surgery. People experience this most of the time, so I want to help even with the simple gesture of donating blood. Since then, I’ve donated four times through Pru Life UK’s employee blood donation initiative. More than just donating, bloodletting reminds me of how fragile life is and that we should take care of our health in any way we can.” PRULifer Jonel Yulas shared following the company’s recent blood donation drive.

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