COPD- Demanding Fresh Air
Every year the 21st of November is dedicated to create awareness about Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which affects millions across the world. To understand the importance of the day we need to first know what is this disease about.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is not a single disease but, it is an umbrella term used to describe chronic lung diseases that can lead to difficulty in breathing. It makes a person prone to serious illness. Terms such as 'chronic bronchitis'(swelling of the tubes that carry air to and fro from lungs) and 'emphysema' (damage to air sacs in the lungs) are no longer used as they have been included within COPD.
The threats As we now understand what is COPD the next step is to know the factors that can cause it, as awareness is the key to survival!
- Tobacco smoke (The primary cause)
- Indoor air pollution (such as smoke from the fuel used for cooking and heating)
- Outdoor air pollution
- Occupational dusts and chemicals (vapours, irritants, and fumes)
- Frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood.
- Long term asthma
- Maternal smoking can affect the child.
- Advancing age
The indications What if we are suffering from COPD? Can knowing the risk factors alone help? No! Let us look into the symptoms of COPD so that we can consult a doctor before it’s too late!
- Breathlessness (need for air)
- Difficulty to perform daily activities (walking and climbing stairs)
- Long standing cough with or without sputum production
- Wheezing (a typical sound produced while breathing)
The unwelcomed guests COPD brings along unwanted disease or disorders with it which could be more serious and painful.
- Let us have an overview of them.
- Heart diseases (like disease of the arteries of the heart)
- Lung cancer
- Metabolic disorders (such as diabetes and obesity)
- Bone diseases ( such as osteoporosis or porous bones)
- Cachexia (weight loss and tiredness)
- Anaemia (Low hemoglobin count)
- Decline of memory and thinking skills
Few Stats and Some Facts
- Globally, prevalence of COPD is reported to be 2.5 crore.
- As per world health organization, COPD could become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030 .
- COPD caused 31 lakh deaths in 2015 (5% of all deaths globally in that year).
- More than 90% of deaths due to COPD occur in low and middleincome countries.
- COPD may increase in the coming years due to higher smoking prevalence.
- Most cases of COPD can be prevented by early stoppage of smoking.
- COPD is not curable! However, treatment can improve the quality of life by reducing the symptoms. Also, it can bring down the chances of death.
- The disease affects men and women equally!
“ Keep the smoke at bay for a traffic free airway”