COPD is likely to become the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. It is estimated that there are 30 million COPD patients in India . Also, in India COPD related mortality is highest in the world i.e. more than 64.7 estimated age standardized death rate per 100,000 amongl both sexes.
What is COPD?
Lungs plays an important role in breathing by allowing oxygen to be absorbed and carbon dioxide to be released. The lungs contain air sacs known as alveoli which are like elastic air bags that allow oxygen to pass into the blood through their walls. So air sacs inflate when oxygen comes in and deflate when air containing carbon dioxide is exhaled.
However, sometimes this gas exchange is impaired because:
- Airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality.
- Walls between many of the air sacs get destroyed
- Thickening or inflammation of the walls of the airways
- Too much mucus is produced by airways clogging it
Such an obstruction leads to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
As the disease progresses, patients find it hard to breathe. There is shortness of breath especially during physical activity, wheezing, mucus secretions, blueness of lips or fingernail beds also known as cyanosis, lack of energy and extreme tiredness.
It is non-communicable disease i.e. it is not passed from one person to another. Yet, it is slowly becoming one of the leading cause of death among middle-aged and older adults. Surely, evolving lifestyles have a role to play
In our next blog, we will see what are the causes of COPD