Chandigarh, November 17: Senior pulmonologists including Padma Shri recipient Dr Digambar Behera discussed various risk factors and aspects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during a panel discussion at Chandigarh Press club on Wednesday. The discussion was organised by Zorgers Healthcare to raise awareness on World COPD Day. The other panellists included; Dr Zafar Ahmed Iqbal, Dr Suresh k Goyal, Dr Sunny Virdi, Dr Vishal Sharma and Dr Rahul Katyal all senior pulmonologists from tri city’s various hospitals.
Dr Behera said “Even in light of COVID the COPD remains a leading cause of death. It’s now more important to focus on lung health. Keep your lungs healthy by avoiding cigarettes, air pollution or occupational exposures, stay active either through regular physical activity or pulmonary rehabilitation.”
With prevalence of 6.5 to 7.7 % , it has become the second leading cause of death in India, pointed out Dr Zafar.
Varun Gupta , founder, Zorgers said, “10-15% of our patients are COPD and these patients are in high degree of need for non-invasive ventilation equipment likes Bipap/ CPAP/ Portable ventilators and many of them do require oxygenation as well wherein oxygen cylinder/concentrator is also required to keep them comfortable at home under the supervision of a Nurse and a treating Pulmonologist.”
Relating COVID risk to COPD patients, Dr Goyal said that smoking is suicide by instalments. There is a huge risk among COPD patients to get severe COVID infections. As such chronic smokers are at risk of getting severe COVID infection as smoking leads to weakened immunity.
COPD in itself is a disease that lives with the patient throughout his life. Lifestyle changes like eating healthy, exercise and vaccination help cope with limitations created by the disease, said Dr Virdi.
COPD is one of the leading causes of death globally, as well as in India. The main risk factors for COPD are tobacco smoking, atmospheric air pollution as well as indoor pollution due to smoke from biomass, used for cooking, maintained Dr Vishal.
Dr Rahul said, “Even in this pandemic, COPD remains a leading cause of death globally. High levels of pollution, exposure to tobacco smoke and an inactive lifestyle further contributes to the rise in COPD cases. The pandemic is an opportunity to rethink our future and we should work together towards making our lungs healthy.”