Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease caused by tobacco, smoking and exposure to industrial pollution, fumes and other environmental pollutants. Doctors have advised to get screened for COPD if you find it unusually hard to breathe during exercise or just after taking a flight of stairs.
Dr. J.C. Suri, chest physician at Safdarjung Hospital, said, "If you are above 35 years of age and live or work in areas where there is smoke, noxious gas/fumes, ask your doctor for simple screening test to rule out COPD. Due to common tobacco and smoking habit in people and environment pollution, COPD causes four times more deaths in metro cities of India as compared to the US and Europe."
The World Health Organization predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. After pollution, lack of awareness about COPD is the major reason for increased risk of deaths. Studies indicate that 25-50% of people with clinically significant COPD do not even know they have it. That is because the early stages of COPD are often unrecognized.
Dr. Suri further added, "Both asthma and COPD patients have common complaints of difficulty in breathing. Therefore, this lung disease is often detected when it reaches an advanced stage or attacks the lungs. Lung attack becomes a life threatening condition for the patient. There are now simple tools available for early screening of symptomatic COPD patients. In six seconds, doctors can either rule out COPD or evaluate with further tests to confirm COPD. The earlier COPD is detected, the more effective treatment can be."
In a recent study published in the Chest, researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) found that yoga exercises provide improvements that are just as effective as traditional pulmonary rehabilitation methods in improving lung function of patients with COPD.