COPD, Asthma Responsible for Most Chronic Respiratory Diseases

New Delhi, November 20-With World COPD Day being observed on 20th November, 2019 across the globe, it is extremely important to spread awareness about the condition, its common symptoms and preventive measures.

According to a Lancet Report on Chronic Respiratory Diseases, COPD and asthma were responsible for 75·6% and 20·0% of the chronic respiratory disease and DALYs, respectively, in India in 2016.

Speaking to Healthwire, Dr. Inder Mohan Chugh, Director,  Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said, “Over the years, the incidence of COPD has increased dramatically in the country. Often people mistake breathlessness and coughing as a sign of old age. However, increasing breathlessness is a red flag for COPD. The term COPD is an umbrella term to describe lung diseases and it can develop for years in the human body without noticeable shortness of breath. The disease is characterized by a obstruction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult.”

“COPD is most prominent in winter. As the temperature drops, people with COPD are more prone to illness. The effect of cold weather on lungs can be extreme and chronic exposure to cold environments is known to cause dramatic and harmful changes to the respiratory system. With the onset of winter, blood vessels begin to narrow, restricting blood flow and depriving the heart of oxygen. It is the leading cause of cold-related mortality among the elderly. Even genes play a big role in an individual’s development of COPD. Hence, it is important that one visits a specialist immediately in case there is a single symptom indicating COPD. A simple spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test) test taken in time could save lives,” he highlighted.

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