September 2010
Alcohol Research & Health;2010, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p219
Academic Journal
Both HIV1 infection and chronic alcohol abuse adversely affect lung health. For example, through multiple mechanisms, chronic alcohol abuse increases one's susceptibility to pneumonia, particularly pneumonia caused by certain serious pathogens. Similarly, pneumonia caused by opportunistic pathogens is very common in HIV infected patients, at least in part because HIV1 attacks the immune cells of the lungs and interferes with their functions. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome, a serious acute lung condition; however, the association of this syndrome with HIV1 infection remains unclear. Chronic lung conditions potentially caused or exacerbated by chronic alcohol abuse include asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis, although the findings to date are equivocal. However, growing evidence indicates that HIV1 infection increases the risk of chronic pulmonary diseases such as emphysema, lung cancer, and excessive blood pressure in the vessels supplying the lung (i.e., pulmonary hypertension). Both alcohol abuse and HIV infection can impair lung function through various mechanisms, including increasing oxidative stress and enhancing antioxidant deficits, preventing full activation of the lung's immune cells, and contributing to zinc deficiency. However, the interactions between alcohol abuse and HIV1 infection in contributing to the range of lung disorders have not been studied in detail.


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