COPD not confined to smokers: Survey
KOCHI: While the primary cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is believed to be tobacco smoke, a recent survey revealed that the incidence of COPD among non-smokers is higher than among smokers.
According to the survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), around 50 per cent of the deaths caused by COPD are attributable to biomass smoke, and the disease is the second biggest cause of death among Indians aged above 50 years.Rural women in the country fall prey to COPD due to extensive exposure to smoke while using firewood, kerosene stove and pesticides. Across the world, COPD has become the fifth deadliest disease.
The study revealed that at least one in four patients suffering with COPD had never smoked.In urban India, 32 per cent of the households still use biomass stoves, 22 per cent use firewood and 8 per cent use kerosene.Biomass fuels cause high levels of indoor air pollution. COPD spreads rapidly among people living in rural and semi-urban localities, due to the use of kerosene stove for cooking, lack of proper ventilation and usage of mosquito coil. Data shows that the incidence of COPD among farmers (non-smokers but pesticide users) is 18.1 per cent. In terms of occupational exposure, brick workers are found to be having significantly lower lung function.
According to Dr Jacob Baby of Aster Medcity, COPD is one of the deadliest deceases, because it is difficult to diagnose and treat it in the early stage, especially when the patient is non-smoker. “The air we breathe is toxic, and lung functionality is hampered due to the nano-particles present in the air,” he said.