Karachi: Head of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s (JPMC) chest medicine department Prof Dr Nadeem Ahmed Rizvi said here that the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is likely to be the 3rd leading cause of death by 2020 worldwide.
Speaking at a news conference organized in connection with the World COPD Day campaign at Karachi Press Club, he said that more than 6.9 million people suffer from COPD in Pakistan.
Treatment and awareness of COPD has become a challenge for the world as it is one of the of the most common respiratory disorders worldwide, affecting around 210m people around the globe, he added.
Urging the people to stay away from smoking and other air pollutants, Prof Rizvi said that smoking is the major contributor as it accounts for up to 75 per cent of all cases of COPD and as such not only smokers are at higher risk, but they also harm other people through passive smoking.
Speaking on the occasion, head of Pulmonology department at Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Associate professor Dr Nisar Rao said that COPD is a common preventable disease, characterized by persistent airflow limitation that is usually progressive and associated with an enhanced chronic inflammatory response in the airways and the lungs.
He said that patients are required to take care of their routine habits and avoid triggers like cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust. Once diagnosed with COPD, daily medication is vital to fight with it along with short-acting rescue inhalers. Since COPD is a chronic disease and has no cure, the only way to counter it is through healthy living and by using prescribed therapies, he added.
Sharing data of COPD symptoms, senior pulmonologist Dr Mosavir Ansari said that prevalence rate of COPD-related symptoms is 18.5pc, and 26.7pc patients come with co-morbidities. Similarly, around 33.3pc COPD patients are hospitalized for their condition, while 26.7pc patients visit emergency room because of their respiratory condition.
Pointing out that COPD prevalence is generally higher in men than women, Dr Ansari said any patient above 40 might become a victim of COPD, particularly those having Dyspnoea (shortness of breath), chronic cough, chronic sputum production, history of tobacco smoke, smoke from home cooking & heating fuels, occupational dusts and chemicals, past medical history: asthma, allergy, sinusitis, family history of COPD or other respiratory diseases.