With more than half a million people dying every year due to chronic lung disease, health experts said that people should be made aware not to ignore prolonged cough and breathlessness as it could lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"We need to build awareness on chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is the fourth leading cause of death globally. The early symptoms of COPD are cough, bringing up sputum and breathlessness," Vivek Nangia of Fortis Hospital said.
"Over 20 percent of the total deaths from COPD, across the globe, occur in India. Yet there is lack of awareness. There are limited medications available to treat such a disorder," Nangia said.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), COPD is an under-diagnosed, life-threatening lung disease and a chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible. Smoking remains one of the most important causes of the disease.
Joining hands with Fortis Hospital, Breathe Easy India, an NGO, will get in touch with the patients suffering from chronic lung disease like COPD, chronic asthma and pulmonary fibrosis for spreading awareness.
"We are starting a awareness programme, initially we will enrol patients who suffer from chronic lung disease. We anticipate to organise monthly meeting and create a network of respiratory patient support group, where they get advice from experts and get educated about the disease," Aanchal Bhatia, of Breathe Easy said.