Chronic lung dis­ease threat ris­ing in In­dia

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Aayushi Pratap ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments are the lead­ing cause for In­di­ans vis­it­ing doc­tors, with Chronic Ob­struc­tive Pul­monary Dis­ease (COPD) and asthma be­ing the sec­ond-most di­ag­nosed ill­ness in the coun­try, a yet-to-be re­leased study, which will ap­pear in the Lancet next month, has re­vealed.

Ac­cord­ing to the study con­ducted by the Pune-based Chest Re­search Foun­da­tion, more than half of the 2 lakh-odd pa­tients ex­am­ined from 880 cities and towns across In­dia com­plained of res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments while vis­it­ing a doc­tor. While res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms ac­counted for 50.6% of vis­its to a pri­mary health-care prac­ti­tioner, 14.51% pa­tients were di­ag­nosed with COPD, fol­lowed by hy­per­ten­sion (14.52%).

While res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments are known to be high among In­di­ans owing to the pol­lu­tion lev­els, the rise of COPD is a not a good sign.

COPD is a slow pro­gress­ing lung dis­ease char­ac­terised by poor air flow to the lungs. The 2013 Global Bur­den of Dis­ease Re­port also listed COPD as the sec­ond lead­ing cause of deaths in In­dia. Doc­tors said smok­ing and in­crease in pol­lu­tion lev­els in cities are the two main rea­sons for de­vel­op­ing COPD and asthma.

“There is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple start­ing to smoke at a young age. Ear­lier, most pa­tients de­tected with COPD were above the age of 60 years. Now we see pa­tients as young as 40 suf­fer­ing from COPD,” said Dr Me­hul Shah, con­sul­tant chest physi­cian, Bha­tia Hos­pi­tal, Grant Road. “In­crease in ve­hic­u­lar pol­lu­tion in met­ros is also a big con­trib­u­tor to­wards peo­ple de­vel­op­ing COPD.”

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