More than 6.9 million people are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Pakistan and it is expected that by 2020 it will be the third leading cause of death world-wide. This was stated by head of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre's (JPMC) chest department Dr Nadeem Ahmed Rizvi while speaking at a news conference in connection with World COPD Day at Karachi Pres Club on Monday.
"Treatment and awareness of COPD has become a challenge for the world as it is one of the most common respiratory disorders world-wide, affecting around 210m people around the world," he added. He said that smoking is the major factor behind the disease as it accounted for up to 75 per cent of all cases of COPD, besides even the passive smokers were not safe from the disease.
He advised the people to avoid smoking. Speaking on the occasion, head of Dow University of Health Sciences' Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Associate Professor Dr Nisar Rao, said that the 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 the lungs. Describing COPD as a chronic disease, he said smoking, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust are the major contributing factors.
He said that once diagnosed with COPD, daily medication is vital to fight against the disease with short-acting rescue inhalers. Senior chest specialist Dr Mosavir Ansari said that prevalence rate of COPD-related symptoms is 18.5pc, around 33.3pc COPD patients are hospitalised and 26.7pc patients visit hospitals in emergency. "COPD prevalence is generally higher among men than women," he said, adding that chronic cough, sputum, history of tobacco smoke, smoke from home cooking & heating fuels, dusts and chemicals prove hazardous for the patients suffering from asthma, allergy, sinusitis and other respiratory diseases.