Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 3rd leading cause of death worldwide

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24 (Bureau) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can be a serious illness which is the third leading cause of death worldwide, causing 3.23 million deaths in 2019. Nearly 90% of COPD deaths in those under 70 years of age occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to Dr.Ajay Ravi, Consultant, Interventional Pulmonology, KIMSHEALTH, said on Wednesday. “COPD is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. In people with COPD, the airways (the branching tubes that carry air within the lungs) become narrow and can be clogged with mucus. The air sacs can also become damaged. This makes people feel out of breath and tired,” he said. “It can get worse over time. But there are treatments that are very effective. These treatments and medications acn help one breathe more easily and help keep you active.

There are also things one can do to self-manage your condition at home.” Pointing out that World COPD Day is observed every year on the third Wednesday of November, he said the World COPD Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness, share knowledge, and discuss ways to reduce the burden of COPD worldwide. This year, November 16, 2022 is being observed as World COPD Day. The theme for this year is ‘Your lungs for life.’ To get an accurate diagnosis of COPD, one should have a simple test called spirometry. This involves blowing hard and fast into a machine that measures your lung capacity. This is the total amount of air you can breathe out, and also how quickly you can empty your lungs.

Healthy people can empty at least 70% of the air from their lungs in the first second of a hard blow out, he said. If the results of spirometry are not normal, you will get a medicine in an inhaler to see if the breathing gets better. Then after a few minutes, the spirometry test will be repeated. This will help the doctor or nurse find out if the problem is caused by COPD or another lung problem, such as asthma. People with asthma usually get normal results after they use an inhaler. People with COPD often do not. Spirometry only covers one aspect of the lung function. People with the same spirometry result may be more, or less, breathless depending on their level of fitness, any other medical conditions and the exact way COPD has damaged their lungs. Rarely, people with the emphysema type of severe COPD will need surgery.

Surgery removes the most damaged parts of the lung. This surgery can reduce symptoms, but it does not always work. More recently, doctors can place small “endobronchial valves” in the damaged airways, he said. This can help shrink abnormal areas of lung and help the healthier parts of the lungs work better. The valves are placed using a thin tube that goes down your throat, called a “bronchoscope.” Another way is where doctors use heated water vapour through a bronchoscope to shrink the damaged parts of lung. Both the ways provide an alternative to surgery in selected patients to reduce the damaged part of lungs, thereby helping the normal parts to perform better.