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Dolphy's disease COPD is caused by tobacco smoke, pollution

Thursday, June 21, 2012 09:15 AM    Views : 1585by:Karen Galarpe

With Comedy King Dolphy in critical condition Thursday due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), many people are asking just what this disease is all about.

COPD is a lung disease that is life threatening, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

It happens when airflow from the lungs is persistently blocked. Aside from having a cough that won't go away, one experiences breathlessness and "excessive sputum production."

In 2004, some 64 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COPD, according to the WHO.

A year later, in 2005, more than three million died of COPD, representing five percent of all the deaths in the world. A great majority–90 percent–of those deaths happened in low- and middle-income countries.

What causes COPD? The main culprit, said WHO, is tobacco smoke, both through usage and secondhand smoke. And since women smokers are also on the rise, especially in high-income countries, both men and women are affected almost equally.

Pollution (both indoor and outdoor), occupational dusts and chemicals (vapors, irritants, and fumes), and frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood are also risk factors.

The sad part about COPD is that there is no cure yet for it. "But treatment can slow the progress of the disease," said WHO. "Medicines that help dilate major air passages of the lungs can improve shortness of breath."

On World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day last Nov. 16, WHO called attention to the fact that the number of people dying of COPD is expected to rise by more than 30 percent in the next 10 years "unless urgent action is taken to reduce underlying risk factors, especially tobacco use."

By 2030, COPD will be the third leading cause of death worldwide, according to WHO.



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