The chronic bronchitis of the smoker, an evil insidious

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/SIPA

Published the 15.11.2017 to 09: 00


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Cough in the alarm clock when it is smoking, for many people it is normal. In reality, this can hide a more serious problem, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also called bronchitis of the smoker. A disease little known to smokers, as explained Armine Izadifar, pulmonologist and president of the association of lung specialists of Ile-de-France: “The first symptom is the cough in the morning, but people often underestimate the symptoms, but the disease is very gradual. “

Shortness of breath insidious

Some bronchitis each year to a respiratory failure of economics in everyday life, with shortness of breath on exertion, the disease progresses slowly. But, she can hardly be detected today. Only one-third of the patient knows his diagnosis. While it is enough to look at if one is more out of breath than someone of her age when it comes to physical exertion, such as climbing a flight of stairs.
“General practitioners are sometimes not sensitized, the patients may visit several times during the winter for what they believe to be bronchitis repeatedly, and as the shortness of breath on exertion is difficult to quantify in consultation, the diagnosis is not necessarily mentioned while in reality it is already COPD,” says the pulmonologist.

To extend the screening

Today, it is prescribed to smokers from 40 years of age, and smokers from the age of 45 a PFT, pulmonary function test, a test that helps to evaluate the respiratory function and to screen for obstruction debutante of the bronchi. The recommendation of the professional is to pass a test for any smoker, regardless of age, from 20 packages per annum for a man and 15 for a woman.
As the disease present significant risks: infection bronchial repeat hospitalizations, shortness of breath on exertion which becomes. The decline in respiratory function is very difficult to reverse, hence the importance of acting early. “The first reflex, it is the stopping of smoking, then with drug treatments, physical activity or respiratory physiotherapy, you can improve things. I have patients who live almost normally today, ” adds Armine Izadifar.

Evaluate the breath

One of the solutions to improve the screening : to equip all practitioners of a spirometer, which tests the breath. “If the test shows any trouble, then it is necessary to develop a test EFR in a pulmonologist to see if it is a COPD. “An experiment is conducted in this sense by the Sickness Insurance which has equipped and trained the physicians generalists volunteers in 3 French regions.

COPD for three and a half million people and, today, with 15,000 deaths are linked to the disease in France.