14th October 2010 | New Delhi
In an initiative to raise awareness on lung health among the masses, Patel Chest Hospital in association with Breathefree, a public service initiative from Cipla organized a mass awareness lecture on ‘World Spirometry Day’. Declared by European Respiratory Society (ERS) and European Lung Foundation (ELF), this is the first ever ‘World Spirometry Day’ celebrated worldwide which aims to sensitize the masses on the chronic respiratory diseases like Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD); and thereby encourage the masses to get their lungs checked with the Spirometer if they experience symptoms like tightness in chest, shortness of breath, consistent coughing and wheezing.
A Spirometry test is a sensitive and sophisticated test which detects the signs of lung diseases. The Spirometer is used to measure how much air your lungs can hold and how efficiently the air moves into and out of your lungs. It gives a good indication of your lung power and gives you accurate details about your breathing capacity.
Commenting on World Spirometry Day, Dr. Raj Kumar, Respiratory Chest Physician, Patel Chest Hospital said, “The day gives us an opportunity to encourage people to measure their breath with a Spirometer test. In doing this test, the disease can be detected in early stages, before symptoms show up, and therefore offers a chance for timely prevention and control. If diagnosed, there are effective treatments that can help improve patient’s lung function and quality of life. Although there is no cure for COPD and asthma, there are treatment plans that can help the patients manage the condition, provide symptom relief and slow the progression of the disease.”
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder of the lungs in which there is inflammation (swelling) of the airways in our lungs. Due to this inflammation, the airways are narrowed and the lung becomes vulnerable to various allergens which act as triggers for an asthma attack. Dust, cold, pollen, furry pets, and viruses, smoking and air pollutants, and even emotional agitation act as triggers for an asthma attack. When a person comes in contact with a trigger, the inflamed airways are irritated leading to tightening of the muscles and excess mucus production which further constricts the passages, thereby inhibiting normal breathing and this at times could even turn fatal.
The usual manifestations of asthma are repeated episodes of chest tightness, difficulty in breathing and cough. In children asthma often manifests through a single symptom like cough which is more severe at night or early in the morning and remains persistent despite intake of various cough syrups and medications. Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and it is important to watch them carefully for a correct diagnosis by the doctor.
Although asthma is not curable, it is possible to gain complete control over it and lead a normal active life. There are several therapies and forms of treatment for asthma available in the market. However, it has now been accepted globally that the best and safest way to take asthma medication is by inhalation as it reaches your lungs directly and starts acting immediately. But if you are on tablet or syrup the medication takes time to act as the medicine has to pass from the stomach to the blood and finally to the lungs. This could also result in several side effects. It is to be noted that in inhalation therapy, the dosage needed is up to 50 times lesser than syrups or tablets and far more effective.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. According to recent World health Organization (WHO) estimates, 600 million people suffer from COPD all over the world. COPD is presently ranked fourth among the leading causes of death worldwide. The disease claims 2.75 million lives every year. Patients with COPD have symptoms such as cough, mucus production and shortness of breath. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Passive exposure to tobacco smoke also contributes to respiratory symptoms and COPD. Other causes of COPD include occupational dusts, chemicals (irritants and fumes) and indoor air pollution from biomass fuel used for cooking and heating in poorly vented dwellings.
COPD is usually not diagnosed until it is clinically apparent and moderately advanced. In more than 70% of patients, COPD limits normal physical activities and more than 30% of patients are forced to give up their work. Spirometry is an important tool to confirm the diagnosis of COPD. Management of COPD would include smoking cessation, treatment with medication and non-pharmacological measures such as rehabilitation. The inhaled route is preferred over the systemic route because smaller doses can be delivered directly with equal or greater efficacy and fewer side-effects.