Dehradun, 20 Nov: In order to create awareness on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), the pulmonologists at Max Hospital, Dehradun, today addressed a press conference to share various facts and myths regarding the problems related with lungs. COPD is progressive respiratory disease due to inhaled toxic, noxious particles smoking and pollution.
According to Dr Vaibhav Chachra, Consultant & Head – Pulmonology, “Many people mistake their increased breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of aging. In the early stages of the disease, one may not notice the symptoms. COPD can develop for years without noticeable shortness of breath. Person begins to see the symptoms in the more developed stages. COPD is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe, characterised by restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult.”
COPD is mostly seen in people above 40 years of age with a definite history of smoking. COPD can also occur in those who have had long-term contact with harmful lung irritants in the workplace like chemicals, dust, or fumes and organic cooking fuel. In India, especially in the hill region, people tend to cook with charcoal or firewood exposing the females more to the toxic fumes and a major cause of Non-smoker COPD. With the change in weather, people with COPD are more prone to illness. The effects of cold weather are hazardous on COPD lungs and are known to cause changes to the respiratory system exposing them to secondary bacterial/viral/fungal infections. There is no cure to COPD but proper medical treatments are available which can help prevent more damage and improve quality of life.
In addition to offering medications, oxygen therapy, or pulmonary rehabilitation, one should make lifestyle changes. ‘Never too early, Never too Late” is the theme for World COPD Day this year. It affects 251 million lives globally and causes 3.15million deaths per year and is the 2nd biggest cause of non communicable deaths in India. Making changes to the daily habits can play a key role in decreasing the physical symptoms. One should quit smoking, eat a nutritious diet, stay active, maintain a safe environment (avoid air pollution, indoor fumes and passive smoking, stop chullah cooking).
Dr Shradha Soni, Attending Consultant, explained, “Smoking has increased among adolescents and young generation in form of pipe, cigar water pipe, hukka smoking, pocket marijuana pipes, etc. COPD can develop in non-smoking individuals due to passive smoking and environmental tobacco smoke. It all leads to lung injury, impaired lung growth, lung and systematic inflammation, decreased lung function and capacity to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.”
She added, “High level of urban air pollution is harmful with existing heart and lung diseases. Air pollution has significant impact on lung maturation and development. There is increase mordibity in COPD patients with increasing age, there is high economic burden in COPD patient, long standing treatment, oxygen and BIPAP support and recurrent hospitalisation.”
Dr Rahul Prashad, Medical Superintendent, said, “Max Hospital has always been at the forefront in bringing nothing but the best of medical technology in the state. In continuation of the same, we have now introduced EBUS (Endobronchial Ultrasound), Flexible Bronchoscopy for infants – any age, Tracheal Stenting, Smoking Cessation Clinic, Lung Cancer Screening Programme and all high end tests.”