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World COPD Day - ‘Breathe in the Knowledge’
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World COPD Day - ‘Breathe in the Knowledge’

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Highlights:
  • World COPD Day aims to raise awareness on lung disease and to improve care for those suffering from the disease
  • The theme for 2017 World COPD Day is "Breathe in the Knowledge"
  • According to the World Health Organization, COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030

The World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day is an annual event observed on November 15 to raise awareness about the disease. The World COPD Day was initiated in 2002 by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). The theme for this year's World COPD Day is "Breathe in the Knowledge."

The 15th World COPD Day aims to raise awareness about COPD worldwide. Healthcare professionals, organizations, and government agencies come together to take action against COPD, a serious lung disease that causes more than 3 million deaths every year. More than half of the people with the disease are unaware of the condition.

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"Increased patient education and global efforts to improve early diagnosis are helping to impact the growing burden of COPD. Smoking cessation programs and interest in developing new treatments as well as efforts to predict patients' prognoses are leading to renewed optimism in this fight. We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us in this area, but GOLD is dedicated to assisting practitioners around the world by providing best practice strategy for COPD." says Rebecca Decker, Program Director of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is a broad term used to describe progressive inflammatory lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is a serious under-diagnosed respiratory disease.
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The two main causes of COPD are smoking (including passive smoking) and air pollution (outdoor and indoor). COPD causes breathing difficulties because the airways narrow, become inflamed and get damaged.

According to a study carried out across 188 countries by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, USA, COPD caused around 3.2 million deaths in 2015, which is a 12% increase since 1990.

In the last few years, men were more frequently diagnosed with COPD. However, now women are affected to essentially the same degree. Exposure to certain household products and smoking can increase the risk. According to lung experts, the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and shortness of breath are more marked in women than in men. People with COPD have five additional associated diseases such as metabolic, muscular, cardiac, gastrointestinal and mental function (anxiety, depression).

Some of the warning signs of COPD include chronic cough, coughing up mucus, and shortness of breath during exercise. The symptoms appear progressively and get worse over time.

Prevention and treatment of COPD involve quitting smoking, medications (corticosteroids for treating inflammation), physical activity, avoiding exposure to substances that can worsen the condition like wood or charcoal smoke.

Currently, there is no cure for COPD. Early diagnosis and disease management programs can reduce the burden of COPD, slow disease progression, reduce mortality and improve quality of life.

Facts and Statistics on COPD

  • COPD affects more women than men
  • It is the fourth biggest global cause of death in 2015 (3.2 million deaths), a 12% increase since 1990
  • Women in rural areas are more at risk for COPD
  • COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030
  • COPD affects one in seven Australians aged 40 or over
  • An estimated 1.48 crore (3.49%) Indians suffer from chronic bronchitis

Simple Steps to Reduce the Symptoms of COPD

Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms of COPD and slow down the progression of the disease.

Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is the best way to keep COPD from getting worse. Harmful toxins in cigarette smoke irritate the airways and damage lung tissues. Quitting smoking can improve breathing and response to medications.

Maintain Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can affect the quality of breathing. Shedding those extra kilos can help reduce shortness of breath by decreasing the pressure in respiratory muscles and diaphragm. Eating nutritious foods and increasing physical activity helps maintain a healthier weight.

Stay Active
Physical activity is an important management tool for COPD. Exercise helps strengthen the lungs, heart, and muscles. Consult a physician before beginning a new activity.

Get Enough Sleep
Stress, anxiety and side effects of certain medications may disrupt sleep. Practice meditation and breathing exercises to relieve stress. Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Maintain a Safe Environment
Environmental factors can worsen the symptoms of COPD. Air pollution can increase respiratory tract irritation and chest tightness. Secondhand cigarette smoke may also irritate the airways. Take steps to avoid exposure to smoke at home and workplace.

Vaccination
Get regular flu vaccines to avoid infectious diseases like flu and common cold. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccine can reduce the number of exacerbations of the disease and reduce hospital admissions.

Reference :
  1. World COPD Day - (http://goldcopd.org/world-copd-day/)
  2. World COPD Day - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/world-copd-day_pg)
Source: Medindia

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