LAHORE - Pakistan is observing the month of December as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) awareness month to raise awareness about this lethal disease which has affected around 6.9 million people in the country.

“COPD is one of the biggest threat to health and set to become the fourth leading cause of death by 2030,” said Dr Arshad Javaid, President Pakistan Chest Society and Professor of Pulmonology at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. “As smoking is the most commonly encountered risk factor of COPD, disease is developing at a rapid pace,” he added.

Dr Ashraf Jamal, President Pakistan Chest Society (Punjab) and Professor of Pulmonology Department Jinnah Hospital Lahore, said: “COPD is characterised by persistent airflow limitation that is usually progressive and associated with an enhanced chronic inflammatory response in the airways and the lung to noxious particles or gases.”

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 as compared to women. Prevalence of COPD increases with age, primarily affects people of 40 years and above.

The challenges in COPD management are access, cost, and non-adherence/poor compliance. Access to medications for chronic disease management is limited in many low and middle-income countries, resulting in suboptimal care and avoidable morbidity and mortality.

“Also, a large number of patients with COPD do not take their medications as prescribed, and the cost of the medication is believed to be one of the most important determinants of underuse. Henceforth awareness is important to counter one of the biggest threats to human life,” Dr Ashraf concluded.

UHS convocation tomorrow

The second convocation of University of Health Sciences (UHS) will be held tomorrow at Shams Auditorium.

Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana will be the chief guest. Over 190 graduates of 2014 and 2015 under the various streams will be conferred degrees in the convocation. These include four PhD, 134 MPhil, 43 MS, seven MHPE, two MD and four MDS.

The Best Graduate Gold Medal will be awarded to 16 highest achievers in MPhil, MHPE, MSc, MD, MS, MDS, MBBS, BDS and BSc (Hons) programmes.