HYDERABAD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of disability and death due to which thousands of people die each year from work-related lung diseases and in many cases due to exposures that took place many years before. COPD is a type of breathing problems where there is damage to the breathing tubes and air sacs within the lung. Breathing in certain dusts, fumes, chemicals or gases in the workplace can cause serious long term lung damage as well.
World COPD Day was first held in 2002 with over 50 countries worldwide taking part in activities to raise awareness of COPD. The day seeks to emphasise the steps people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis. This year’s theme is “It’s Not Too Late.”
- According to the latest WHO estimates (2007), currently 210 million people have COPD and 3 million people died of COPD in 2005.
- An estimated 210 million people have COPD worldwide.
- More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which is equal to 5% of all deaths globally that year.
- Almost 90% of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The disease now affects men and women almost equally, due in part to increased tobacco use among women in high-income countries.
The earlier it is detected, the better the results of treatment. COPD symptoms include trouble breathing or a perpetual cough. If you have these symptoms, you should ask your doctor about COPD. Doctors can help people with COPD feel better, live active lives and slow the damage to their lungs. The earlier COPD is detected, the better the results of treatment.
- Tobacco smoking
- Indoor air pollution (such as biomass fuel used for cooking and heating)
- Outdoor air pollution
- Occupational dusts and chemicals (vapours, irritants, and fumes)
The diagnosis and treatment of COPD is confirmed by a simple diagnostic test called ‘spirometry’ that measures how much air a person can inhale and exhale, and how fast air can move into and out of the lungs. As COPD develops slowly, it is frequently diagnosed in people aged 40 or older. Sadly, COPD is not curable.
What you can do about COPD:
- Stop smoking
- Go to the doctor at least twice a year for checkups.
- Keep the air clean at home. Stay away from things like smoke that make it hard to breathe.
- Keep your immunity levels high.
- If your COPD is severe, get the most out of your breathing. Make life as easy as possible at home.
Dr LN Swamy
Sr.Consultant Pulmonology, CARE Hospitals Banjara Hillls