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World COPD Day 2016: Breathe in the Knowledge

World COPD Day 2016: Breathe in the Knowledge

Written by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on November 16, 2016 at 6:31 PM
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  • COPD or chronic obstructive lung disease is a common lung disease in smokers
  • The World COPD Day 2016 is being celebrated on the 16th of November 2016 with the theme-Breathe in the knowledge
  • Early diagnosis of COPD ensures early treatment and slows the progression of the lung condition

The World COPD Day is being celebrated on the 16th of November 2016 by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) with the theme "Breathe in the Knowledge". The first world COPD day was held in 2002. The day is celebrated to increase awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a chronic lung condition that affects a large number of people all over the world, especially those who smoke or are exposed to polluted air.

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World COPD Day 2016: Breathe in the Knowledge

COPD is a group of lung conditions which include chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic asthma that is not fully reversible. It usually affects middle aged or older people resulting in difficulty in breathing or chronic breathlessness. Unfortunately, sufferers usually regard the breathlessness as a part of aging and are often not aware that they have COPD.

Here are some facts and information about COPD:
  • COPD was responsible for around 3 million deaths in 2015 alone with most deaths occurring in the low and middle-income countries.
  • COPD only affects
    adults. It is common in smokers. Therefore, the importance of tobacco cessation to prevent worsening of the condition should not be underestimated. People who do not smoke especially teenagers should be advised about the harms of smoking. Exposure to polluting air at the workplace or otherwise also increases the chances of COPD.
  • Symptoms of COPD include chronic cough with sputum production and breathlessness. In the initial stages, breathlessness may appear only on exertion, but as the disease progresses, it may be present even at rest. The breathlessness may be interspersed with more severe attacks, which may even require hospitalization. People should be aware of the symptoms of the disease so that early diagnosis can result in prompt treatment and will prevent the worsening of the condition.
  • COPD reduces the breathing capacity of the lungs, which can be detected with a simple instrument called a spirometer. The test involves breathing into a tube as per the instructions of the technician and is totally painless. Lung changes can also be noted on x-ray.
  • A genetic deficiency of the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein is highly associated with COPD. Therefore, screening for the deficiency in areas where the genetic defect is highly prevalent could help in counseling the patients.
  • COPD can increase your chances of developing lung infection. The infection may even assume serious proportions due to reduced immunity in the elderly. Therefore, it is a good idea for older patients with COPD to get a flu shot to prevent pneumonia.
  • Patients with COPD may also suffer from other comorbidities like heart failure and lung cancer. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor for these conditions in patients with COPD.
  • COPD cannot be completely cured, but the symptom management is possible with medications. The patient can be made to feel comfortable and the progression of the disease can be slowed down.
  • Patients with very severe COPD may require ventilatory support. The oxygen content of the blood can be measured by a simple non-invasive method called pulse oximetry.
  • It is important to maintain lung health with adequate physical activity depending on the patient's capacity. A regular walk is good not only for the heart but also for your lungs. Yoga and other breathing exercise can definitely benefit lung function.
  • The GOLD Strategy for Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD - 2016 documentis available on the GOLD website as a guide to healthcare professions to manage COPD.
  1. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease - (http://goldcopd.org/)
Source: Medindia

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