LAHORE - Like the previous years, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day went unnoticed with no government or private institution even bothering to perform the ritual of arranging any event.

As the event fall on November 21 (Wednesday) when the nation was celebrating Eid Milad-un-Nabi, there was room for arranging COPD Day relating events prior to or after that date but it did not happen. 

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) is observing the day on November 21 since 2002 under different themes in collaboration with health care professionals to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve care.

World COPD Day theme this year was “never too early, never too late”.

More than 2,410 million people worldwide are suffering from COPD with Pakistan sharing the burden of 6.9 million people. As per the pulmonologists, COPD will become the leading cause of death in future even ahead of diabetes and depression if not given due attention.

COPD is 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. Difficulty in breathing will restrict patients to perform any sternness job and as such become a non productive part of family and society,” said Dr Abdul Rauf who is running his clinic in densely populated Usman Gunj.

Shortness of breath, persistent cough, coughing up mucus, wheezing, fatigue, weight loss, morning headaches are 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.

Dr Rauf said that symptoms of the disease develop slowly and are ignored by most of the patient as ‘old age’ or ‘smoker’s cough’ which is a dangerous attitude and by the time it is realized they have often lost a significant amount of lung function.

Prevalence rate of COPD related symptoms is 18.5 per cent and 26.7 per cent patients come with co-morbidities. Similarly, around 33.3 per cent COPD patients are hospitalised for their condition and 26.7 per cent patients visited an emergency due to their respiratory condition. He said that smoking accounted for up to 75% of all cases of COPD. “Not only smokers are at higher risk but they also harm other people through passive smoking. Recent trends of ‘Sheesha’ and ‘e-cigarettes’ are also harmful and contributing heavily to the COPD.

 

People consider them a safe alternative but they are gravely mistaken”, he said. He urged people to stay away from smoking and other air pollutants like chemical fumes and dust.

“Once diagnosed with COPD, daily medication is necessary along with short-acting rescue inhalers. COPD is a chronic disease and has no cure. The only way to counter is through healthy living and using prescribed therapies,” he said.