Doha, 17 November 2021: In recognition of World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day, Hamad Medical Corporation is advising individuals with symptoms of the disease to seek attention and avoid COPD complications.
COPD is a long-term condition affecting a person’s lungs and body. It causes narrowing of airways resulting in difficulty breathing. Symptoms include chronic cough, mucus (sputum) production, breathing difficulties, respiratory infections, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, and swelling of the feet and ankles.
Exposure to tobacco smoke and other inhaled toxic particles and gases are the main risk factors for COPD. However, recent research has identified that suboptimal lung growth before and after birth can also increase the risk of COPD later in life. People with COPD are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and various other conditions.
The World COPD Day is a campaign organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare professionals, and COPD patient groups worldwide. It aims at raising awareness, sharing knowledge, and discussing ways to reduce the burden of COPD worldwide.
Dr. Mansoor Hameed, Consultant Pulmonologist at HMC, said: “Although COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, it is very treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve reasonable symptom control, quality of life, and reduced risk of other associated conditions.
Under this year's theme, "Healthy Lungs – Never more Important," HMC joins healthcare professionals and organizations worldwide to educate people about controlling and preventing COPD. This year aims to highlight that the burden of COPD remains, and in the context of the ongoing pandemic, there has never been a more crucial time to focus on lung health.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, stopping smoking, eating healthily, avoiding air pollution and toxic exposures, and exercising regularly, are all ways to keep your lungs healthy. Reducing COVID-19 risk (social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask, and having the COVID-19 vaccine) as well as taking prescribed medications as needed can also help keep your lungs healthy.
Dr. Hameed went on to say that the significant purpose of the day is to raise public knowledge of COPD, its diagnosis, and how to prevent symptoms from worsening. As healthcare professionals, we urge the public to support smoke-free policies to create a second-hand smoke-free environment. In contrast, smokers are encouraged to quit smoking and seek medical attention if they develop any early COPD symptoms, such as long-standing cough with plenty of phlegm and shortness of breath.
“The 20th annual COPD Day will take place on 18 November 2021, and we are pleased to commemorate this day at HMC this year. By sharing awareness messages via traditional and social media channels, we hope to improve public understanding of this disease and encourage and help those affected to live well with the disease actively,” Dr. Hameed confirmed.