Kochi: It causes more deaths than AIDS, TB, malaria, and diabetes all put together. The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has made India its capital in the world with the most number of cases and the country is ranked second when it comes to death caused by the condition. Poor delayed COPD diagnosis and poor COPD management are worsening the situation and leading the patients to 'lung attack'.
As yet another World COPD Day falls on Wednesday, statistics from a national study reveals that Kerala has over 4680 cases of COPD per one lakh population, and occupies the fifth rank in terms of prevalence in the country and 21st in terms of mortality. In Kochi, the mortality rate (COPD death rates) is 39 deaths per 1 lakh population.
"Smoking, traffic snarls, occupational hazards and camphor are among the risk factors for COPD. The symptoms include feeling more breathless than usual, increases in frequency or severity in cough /wheezing and feeling more tired than usual," says Dr Fathahudeen, head of the department of pulmonary medicine, Government Medical College, Ernakulam.
"The symptoms further aggravate as our lungs mature by the time we are about 20-25 years old, and with ageing, it is normal for our lung function to decline.
This can make breathing slightly more difficult. Breathlessness on exertion which progresses gradually is the hallmark symptom of COPD."
"Diagnosis of lung attack is often based on the degree of worsening signs of COPD such as oxygen levels being lower than normal, findings of a physical examination by a doctor, wheezing and rapid shallow breathing. Identifying the signs and symptoms of a lung attack and getting timely help from a physician is the best way to prevent further worsening of disease progression.
Lung attack requires urgent medical attention and if left untreated, it can cause a fatality," said Dr Paramez A.R., consultant pulmonologist at Lisie Hospital, Kochi.
"Lung attack can be tackled by using inhalers to open the airways and reduce inflammation. One may require hospitalisation if the symptoms become severe.
An impending lung attack can be identified by regularly monitoring and noting the peak expiratory flow rate using a peak flow meter. Spirometry is the most common lung function test."...