64 million people have COPD and 3 million people died of
COPD in 2004
What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
on this day 20th November, World COPD Day is celebrated all
over the world. According to a document of NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services.) COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a
progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. Progressive means the
disease gets worse over time.
According to a document of WHO,
relatively few people have heard of it, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) kills on average one person every 10 seconds.
COPD is not one single disease but an umbrella term used to
describe chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow. It is
not a simple smoker’s cough, but an under-diagnosed, life threatening lung
disease. The most common symptoms of COPD are breathlessness, or a ‘need for
air’, excessive sputum production, and a chronic cough. Daily activities, such
as walking up a short flight of stairs, may become very difficult as the
According to WHO document,
“COPD is preventable, but not curable. Treatment can help
slow disease progression, but COPD generally worsens slowly over time. Because
of this, it is most frequently diagnosed in people aged 40 years or older.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are terms that are no longer used and are now
included within the COPD diagnosis.”
According to WHO estimates, 64 million people have COPD and
3 million people died of COPD in 2004. Total deaths from COPD are projected to
increase in the next 20 years, making it the third leading cause of death in
the world unless urgent action is taken to reduce underlying risk factors,
especially tobacco use and air pollution.
Key facts about COPD According to WHO Fact sheet are as
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a
progressive life-threatening lung disease that causes breathlessness (initially
with exertion) and predisposes to exacerbations and serious illness.
The Global Burden of Disease Study reports a prevalence of
251 million cases of COPD globally in 2016.
Globally, it is estimated that 3.17 million deaths were
caused by the disease in 2015 (that is, 5% of all deaths globally in that
More than 90% of COPD deaths occur in low and middle-income
The primary cause of COPD is exposure to tobacco smoke
(either active smoking or second-hand smoke).
Other risk factors include exposure to indoor and outdoor
air pollution and occupational dusts and fumes.
Exposure to indoor air pollution can affect the unborn child
and represent a risk factor for developing COPD later in life.
Some cases of COPD are due to long-term asthma.
COPD is likely to increase in coming years due to higher
smoking prevalence and aging populations in many countries.
Many cases of COPD are preventable by avoidance or early
cessation of smoking. Hence, it is important that countries adopt the WHO Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) and implement the MPOWER package of
measures so that non-smoking becomes the norm globally.
COPD is not curable, but treatment can relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of death.
(Note – This news is not a medical consultation
in any case. You can not make any decision based on this news story. Do not
become a doctor yourself, consult a qualified doctor.)
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