Chennai: On World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day, doctors in the city say the disease has seen a sharp rise due to pollution and second-hand smoke.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma which causes difficulty in breathing and severe exacerbation. Due to its similarities in symptoms, the disease is often misdiagnosed, say, doctors.
According to the World Health Organization, there are about 64 million people suffering from COPD worldwide. More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005. As per the study, COPD will become the third leading cause of death by 2030 worldwide.
“Ninety per cent of COPDs today go undiagnosed,” says Dr P K Thomas Pulmonologist, Fortis Malar Hospital. “It is a simple diagnosis, but the reach of the tool used to diagnose it is very rare, it will not be available in a village or town,” says Dr Thomas, where, the need for it might actually be higher.
The first element to prevent COPD is to acknowledge that most of rural India especially women may be susceptible to COPD due to working closely with firewood. “Symptoms of lung disease tend to creep up slowly and people often automatically adjust their daily activities to accommodate or reduce their symptoms rather than getting help,” he said.
Sufficient data is also not available on the disease as tier II or III cities and smaller towns have no way of recording COPD.
The number of new cases of COPD is growing nearly three times faster in women than in men every year, doctors say with 34 per cent females at the workplace, 54 females at home and 12 per cent at home and workplace were exposed to passive smoking.
“COPD is irreversible and the damage to the lungs can’t be repaired.” However, early diagnosis can help prevent further damage to the lungs and enable a person to lead a normal life, with medication and certain lifestyle changes, Dr Thomas said....