DelhiChokes has been all all over the news lately, and it comes as no surprise that citizens are left gasping for breath. With pollution levels increasing drastically — not just in Delhi but across the country, it brings with it a host of problems. More and more people, especially children and the elderly are left in the wake of wanting a breath of clean air — their lungs choking and reducing in capacity.

While terms like asthma and bronchitis are increasingly becoming more common, another term that’s gaining prevalence is COPD. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is an umbrella term for multiple respiratory conditions such as; emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic asthma. Incidentally, the world is celebrating 20th November as WorldCOPDDay.

Statistics show that over a million deaths in the country have been caused due to COPD — a number that’s fast approaching that of heart disease. Caused by long-term exposure to lung irritants and toxins in the air, it is a progressive condition, which means there is currently no cure and everyday tasks can become a challenge. Moreover, COPD is often undiagnosed and many who live with the disease are unaware that they have it.

While this situation sounds grim, there is still a window of hope. As a healthcare practitioner, I strongly believe that the time is ripe to make a change. While the first step is curbing pollution, the second is spreading awareness.

Symptoms such as persistent coughing, increased phlegm, breathlessness, and frequent respiratory infections should not be ignored. Simple #spirometry tests are easily available and affordable, and makes a world of difference when it comes to catching COPD early.

Understand that COPD isn’t a life sentence — getting the right support, diagnosis and treatment can help many lead active, complete lives. Let’s UniteToEndCOPD!