Doctors of Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, have said that Haryana ranks fourth in the nationwide mortality rate from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), with around 30,000 deaths a year.
Speaking at an awareness event on COPD in Karnal, Haryana, the doctors said that around 3 lakh people were affected with COPD in Haryana last year with majority of them being from Karnal (42%).
Dr. Inder Mohan Chugh, Director, Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said, “Often people mistake breathlessness and coughing as a sign of old age. However, increasing breathlessness is a red flag for COPD.”
Dr Chugh added that 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 an obstruction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult.
He further said, “COPD is most prominent in winters. 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,” explained Dr Chugh.
COPD is a term used to notify a group of diseases including chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma and severe form of lung infections. Millions of individuals are being diagnosed with COPD which is a result of combination of both lifestyle and environmental issues.
Some of the leading factors of COPD include smoking, asthma, exposure to chemicals and fumes in the workplace and long-term exposure to air pollution and inhaling dust.