Lung Diseases Claiming 1 Million Lives in India Every Year: WHO

Increasing air pollution, smoking blamed for the disturbing trend; respiratory disorders on the rise in AP

Published: 26th June 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2015 08:39 AM   |  A+A-

VIJAYAWADA: The increase in air pollution due to the increased vehicular traffic and the number of industries has led to an increase in the incidence of lung disease in the country, according a  recent report by World Health Organisation, according to Govini Balasubramani, senior consultant (heart and lung transplant surgery) at the Chennai-based Global Health City.

He told newsmen here on Thursday that,  citing smoking as another contributory factor in this, the WHO report had said that 11 per cent of deaths in the country every year were due to lung diseases caused by air pollution. This meant that about 1 million people were dying due to respiratory diseases, it said.

He said that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had in a recent survey found that instances of respiratory diseases were on the rise in Andhra Pradesh, particularly in Krishna and neighbouring districts. With Vijayawada and surrounding cities, towns and villages - all part of the new capital region --  poised for rapid urbanisation in the coming years, the danger of increase in respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), Interstitial Lung Diseases (ILD), pneumonia and tuberculosis could not be ruled out.

“Apart from being aware of precautionary measures, awareness about the available cures and treatments is also essential. Unfortunately, the same is found lacking, not only among the common people but also among the medical practitioners. In a majority of the lung diseases-related cases, the diseases do not get diagnosed till secondary or final stages,” Balasubramani said.

The surgeon said that in the case of  end-stage respiratory diseases, the only medical solution was surgery and, in many cases, also lung transplantation. “It is one of the rare surgeries in the country and Global Health City in Chennai has successfully performed 20 lung transplantations in the last four years,” he said.

Organ donation was the only way that could make lung transplantation possible and with increasing awareness among the people about organ donations, the cases of organ transplantations were increasing steadily. “Unlike the transplantation of other organs like kidney, liver and heart, lung transplantation is a complicated procedure and research is being made to make the process more effective and ensure that the lifespan of the patient is increased  post surgery”, Balasubramani said.

He said only 20 per cent of the 100 donations were found to be useful for the lung transplantation and once harvested, the donated lung had to be transplanted to the intended recipient within 7 to 9 hours. Apart from lung transplantation, keyhole surgery to treat lung diseases in a more cost effective manner is also gaining acceptance and popularity.  Though at present lung transplantation or any other organ transplantation is a costly affair, research is on to bring down the cost involved.

Bhaskar Reddy, vice-president (corporate relations) of Global Hospitals Group, who was also present at the news conference, said that there was need for more awareness among people about organ donations. He said that if the kin of a brain dead patient donated his organs, they could help save the lives of six or seven persons.


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