Smoking major cause of irreversible lung disease


Karachi: “By the year 2020, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death worldwide” said Dr. Javaid A. Khan, Senior Faculty Member Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care  Medicine, AKU, while addressing an awareness program arranged at Karachi Press Club in relation to the World COPD Day that passed recently.

While re-uttering the theme of this year “it’s not too late” Dr. Javaid stressed on smokers to quit smoking and save their and other lungs. He further elaborated that “Tobacco smoking and usage of fuels such as wood and coal are major causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD, a disease that poses major health hazards and unfortunately remains largely under diagnosed and under treated in Pakistan”

While speaking at the causes and control of COPD,  Dr. Musavir Ansarie, Chest Specialist Health Care Hospital, said that the disease could occur due to second hand smoke also and the discouraged the ill trend of ‘Sheesha’ consumption specially in the youth. He mentioned candidly that, “smoking is not trendy, in fact it’s stupidity”.

The audience were given free Spirometry test, that enables measuring lung function, specifically the measurement of the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. The spirometry test was performed by many participants using a device called a spirometer.

Both the doctors explained that as there is no cure for COPD, all the currently available treatments concentrate on slowing progression of the disease, controlling symptoms, reducing complications and improving patient quality of life.  “Stopping smoking is the single most effective intervention to reduce the risk of developing COPD and to stop its progression.” The doctors stressed.

While advising people not to ignore symptoms such as continuous cough, cough  with sputum, felling breathless etc. And consult their doctors if such symptoms occur.  They informed that there are a number of therapeutic interventions available for COPD, including the following inhalers:

Bronchodilators relax and widen the airways making breathing easier and more comfortable.

Corticosteroids are a class of treatments available to reduce inflammation in the airways.

Combination therapies: Combing the above therapies has shown to be a more effective than administering either alone. Combination therapies reduce exacerbations; improve symptoms and slow decline in health status.