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COPD looming large over city residents

Kolkata: If you suffer from a shortness of breath while taking a stroll, do not waste time and consult a doctor as this could be a symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The city doctors have said that more number of people are falling victim to the disease in the city, especially the children. Doctors said that the young generations are increasingly becoming susceptible to COPD due to smoking and air pollution.
This has been a major cause of concern for urban people, many of whom are not aware about their weakening lungs, doctors warned.
There is a sharp rise in the number of COPD cases in West Bengal. A recent survey conducted by an agency in 23 sites in India, reveals that the overall prevalence of chronic bronchitis in adults is 3.49 per cent.
Pulmonologists said that 30 per cent of the population in the city suffer from a decrease in the volume of their lungs. They warned that the condition is not, however, rare in adolescents too.
According to a study, over 50 per cent COPD patients are unaware of their condition, which can also lead to lung disorders.
Dr Himadri Mukherjee, senior consultant pulmonologist in the city, said that according to a latest report, around 12 per cent of the whole male population in West Bengal is affected with COPD, whereas the figure is anything between 5-7 per cent in case of females.
"COPD is a progressive disease and it is not completely curable. Patients, however, check the progress of COPD by restricting themselves from being exposed to the risk factors," Dr Mukherjee said, adding that it is crucial to identify the symptoms in the early stage, as there is no permanent cure for COPD.
According to Dr Mukherjee, the common causal factors of COPD are pollution and fumes inhaled in copious amounts, genetic transmission of the disorder and asthma. But the primary reason is smoking - active or passive inhalation of tobacco smoke or any other form of smoke.
These risk factors cause severe inflammation in the lungs and airways, causing mucous production leading to blockage of the airway.
The doctors advised those to wear masks, who are more exposed to the air pollution in the streets. COPD patients take longer time to breathe in and breathe out. If the patients are not treated, there will be high carbon dioxide levels in the blood which will eventually lead to critical health issues.
The doctors have also suggested practicing yoga, as researchers have found that it can improve lung function of patients with COPD. The researchers found that yoga can improve pulmonary function, exercise capacity and indices of systemic inflammation in patients with COPD.

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