COPD: The Silent Killer

COPD: The Silent Killer post thumbnail image

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought respiratory ailments and challenges to the forefront. In addition, rising air pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) is further playing havoc with public health in India. This has resulted in alarmingly high levels of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) cases.

COPD is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation of the lungs. It is characterized by cough, wheezing, excessive mucus production and breathing difficulty.

  • COPD is the second largest killer in India after a heart attack. India also has the highest number of COPD cases in the world. 
  • In a 2017 study, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine reports that cases increased from 28.1 million in 1990 to 55.3 million in 2016.
  • COPD prevalence has seen an elevation from 1.6% to 28.3% among the population aged 30+ years.
  • According to NCBI research, the percentage change in death and premature death due to COPD is over 39% and 37%, respectively. 

A problematic scenario as the above statistics represent, Government authorities slowly realise the devastating impact it could have on the productivity and economy of the nation. Several studies have reported the annual burden of COPD to be INR 40000 Crores. Guidelines and preventive measures initiated under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer Diabetes Cardiovascular diseases and Strokes (NPCDCS) is a step in the right direction. From industry interventions to manufacturing products that reduce overall emissions, public and private organisations are rallying for improving air quality. Under the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, India aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCD) by one-third in the next decade and by 25 per cent in 2025.

Tobacco and biomass fuel are the major risk factors of COPD. Moreover, COPD is accompanied by emphysema, chronic bronchitis, tightness in the chest etc. Such exacerbations grow much worse when triggered by air pollution. It becomes life-threatening when a person comes in contact with the COVID-19 virus. In recent months, the Government of India has been promoting digital adoption, leading to the growing popularity of telemedicine and teleconsultation. In fact, ‘chest specialist near me’, ‘best pulmonologist near me’, ‘pulmonologist near me’ have been popular search queries, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Present times call for actionable plans to prevent reduced intubation rates, reduced length of hospital stay, and a decline in mortality caused by COPD. The ever-growing need for accessible, proper diagnostic and monitoring technologies to enable the early diagnosis of COPD can no longer be delayed. SeekMed is a global telemedicine solutions platform committed to reducing the disease burden of COPD and improving the quality of life for patients. Patients can consult award-winning superspecialists online to get help in ratifying and confirming the diagnosis and explore the best treatment plans and affordable health coverage options to make improved health decisions. People can search for ‘chest specialist near me, ‘best pulmonologist near me’ or ‘pulmonologist near me’, and they will get redirected to India’s top doctors who can suggest the best-suited medications and treatment for COPD.

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