Lahore: “More than 210 million people worldwide are suffering from the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) with Pakistan sharing the burden of 6.9m people,” senior doctors told media persons on “World COPD Day”.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Chest Society’s president Dr Kamran Cheema said that there is a need to realise the deadly effects of COPD as it will become the leading cause of death in the future ahead of diabetes and depression.
Dr Cheema, who is head of Pulmonology at Services Hospital, said the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) defines COPD as a common preventable disease characterised by persistent airflow limitation that is usually progressive and associated with an enhanced chronic inflammatory response in the airways and lungs to noxious particles and gases.
“We have to realise that COPD is a major threat. Being a chronic disease, once a man falls prey to it, there is no point of return. If not controlled, it progresses with time,” Dr Cheema cautioned.
Talking about the signs and symptoms of COPD, he said shortness of breath, persistent cough, coughing up mucus, wheezing, fatigue/tiredness, weight loss, morning headaches are alarming signs of the disease. It is more prevalent in men than women, and increases with age, primarily affecting people 40 years and above.
Sharing data on COPD symptoms, assistant professor of Services Hospital’s Pulmonology department, Dr Ashraf Jamal, told newsmen that the prevalence rate of COPD-related symptoms was 18.5pc, while 26.7pc patients came with co-morbidities. Similarly, around 33.3pc COPD patients were hospitalised for their condition and 26.7pc visited emergency department due to their respiratory condition.
He said smoking was the major contributor that accounted for up to 75pc of all cases of COPD. Not only were smokers at higher risk, but they also harm other people through passive smoking. Sheesha and e-cigarettes were also harmful and contributed heavily to the menace, Dr Jamal added, urging people to stay away from smoking and other air pollutants.