Eating large amounts of cured meats such as deli meat, bacon and hot dogs may aggravate symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that can lead to risk of hospitalization, study says

SHEFFIELD, England , March 13, 2012 (press release) – Previous research has found that eating too much cured meat, such as salami, chorizo and bacon, can cause problems in the lungs.

A new study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, has investigated the link between cured meat and admission to hospital for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Researchers in Spain investigated 274 patients from their first admission to hospital due to their lung condition. Participants provided information on their usual cured meat consumption and were monitored for an average of 2 years to see if they were admitted to hospital during this time.

The results showed that people eating large quantities of cured meats (i.e. more than one slice of ham per day or equivalent) were more likely to suffer an exacerbation that caused them to have readmission to hospital.

The researchers believe that the negative effects of cured meats are thought to be a result of the chemicals used to preserve the meat. These chemicals, called nitrates, can cause damage to the tissue in the lungs.

New guidelines released on work-related asthma

Work-related asthma is the term given to asthma which is specifically triggered by the environment in a work-place.

This form of asthma can be caused by allergy or irritation from specific substances in the workplace which include latex, wood dust, cotton dust, grain dust, tobacco smoke, chlorine in swimming pools or fumes from soldering.

Experts in Europe have developed new guidelines this month (March 2012) to help doctors prevent, manage and treat this form of asthma. The guidelines have gathered existing data on the topic to look at the best way to manage work-related asthma.

The researchers make some key recommendations for improving the management of the condition. These include:

• All adults with new, recurrent or deteriorating symptoms of asthma, COPD, or a congested nose should be asked about their job, materials with which they work and whether they improve when away from work.

• Patients and doctors should be aware that complete avoidance of exposure would provide the highest probability of improvement, but may not lead to a complete recovery from asthma.

• Allergen-rich natural rubber latex gloves should not be used by any workers.

• Respiratory protective devices, which can be worn by an individual to protect themselves from allergens and small particles in the air, should not be considered as a safe or long-term solution to the problem.

The findings of the research also suggest that people need to be more aware of the causes of work-related asthma so that they have a better ability to cope with any harmful exposures and so that they can avoid particular risk factors.

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