World COPD Day took place on Wednesday, November 16. This year's theme is 'Breathe in the Knowledge' and it aims to to increase awareness of COPD and the improvement of its care. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is one of the major causes of death in the world according to the World Health Organization. In 2005, COPD claimed about 3 million lives, and by 2030 it will be the third most common cause of death.
Non-Smokers Can Also Acquire COPD
While there is a strong link between smoking and COPD, non-smokers can get it, too. Recent studies have shown that there are numerous other risk factors that trigger the disease in non-smokers, since almost half of the world's population are exposed to smoke from biomass fuel. In India in 2012, 69 percent of people with COPD were never smokers. The doctors also observed that the prevalence rate of COPD was 8.5 percent in men and 4.5 percent in women.
COPD Affects Millions Of Indians
A study published in 2012 shows that there are about 30 million COPD patients in India. 70 percent of the homes in rural and urban areas still use biomass fuel for cooking and heating purposes in poorly ventilated kitchens. The use of mosquito coils in Indian homes is also blamed. In fact burning even one mosquito coil in the night to get rid of mosquitoes is capable of emitting particulate matter equivalent to around 100 cigarettes.
COPD Affects A Lot Of People But Is Still Underrated
Currently, COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Today, about 210 million people suffer from this condition - a frightening rate, but doctors feel that the disease is still underrated. There is currently no cure to COPD, however, proper treatment can slow the progression of the disease. In the near future, if appropriate measures for prevention are taken, the overall mortality rate associated with COPD will decrease by 30 percent.