Chronic lung disease threat rising in India
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.”