Breathing is a continuous battle between our need for oxygen and forces in nature that attack our lungs. Three hundred thousand Americans will die of respiratory diseases this year. Gasping for Air is the dramatic story of how infections, toxins, carcinogens, and air pollution strike against one of our basic body functions. The book also describes how we come into the struggle with diseases like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and sleep apnea, which make us vulnerable to assaults on breathing from without and within.
We have powerful weapons to defend breathing. Medical science, public health, engineering, and business, all play important roles in the effort to support breathing. Yet, Gasping for Air also reminds readers how breathing support has been at the eye of the storm in many ethical dilemmas of modern healthcare. Here, Kevin Glynn, an experienced pulmonologist and lifelong asthma sufferer tells stories about the third most common cause of premature deaths in the developed world, describes lethal forces in Nature (infections, genetic predispositions) and from human activities (dusty occupations, tobacco smoking, chemical toxins, drug overdoses) that threaten to suffocate us, and offers sage advice for how to prevent and address those threats and the damage they cause.