“The COPD kills an average one person every 10 seconds and the death rate from COPD is increased about 10-fold for each 15 cigarettes smoked daily and regularly in the past,” it was revealed in a press briefing to mark COPD awareness month in Pakistan here on Wednesday.
Dr Ashraf Jamal, President Pakistan Chest Society (Punjab), and Pulmonology Department head at Jinnah Hospital Lahore said that according to WHO estimates for 2030, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death killing over 4.5 million people worldwide. He added, ’it has been proved scientifically that smoking cigarettes from adolescence to adulthood costs on average 10 years of life.’
He said “In Pakistan, 18.7 percent smoking rate and breathlessness alone is the most frequently reported symptom of COPD. It is known that almost 90 percent of COPD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and cigarette smoking is the most commonly encountered risk factor for COPD.” ‘It is estimated by WHO that close to 210 million cases of COPD could possibly be found worldwide, while some estimates put this number as high as 400-600 million. By 2015, COPD had been killing more than three million people worldwide every year (that is 5 percent of all deaths globally in that year),’ he added.
He added that many cases of COPD were preventable by avoidance or early cessation of smoking, hence it is important that countries should 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. Measures of WHO stresses monitoring of tobacco use and its prevention policies, protecting people from tobacco smoke, offering help to quit tobacco use, warning about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing ban on tobacco advertising/ promotion/ sponsorship and raising taxes on tobacco.
‘Dr Kamran Khalid Chima, Pulmonology Department head, Services Hospital Lahore said, ‘Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops slowly and usually becomes apparent after 40 or 50 years of age.
COPD is not curable, but treatment can relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of death,’ he added. Moreover, he said COPD is one of the most common respiratory disorders worldwide as 65 million people have moderate to severe
COPD. “In Pakistan, the prevalence rate of COPD related symptoms is 18.5 percent and COPD patients with co–morbidity are 26.7 percent.