Thursday, November 20, 2014

In Chennai - 250 Asthma and COPD Cases Registered Everyday

Rising air pollution in Chennai is making more people sick with respiratory illnesses, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say experts. According to data released by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, which conducts regular air quality checks in Indian metros, Chennai ranks second in air pollution after Delhi - more @ Times of India

With World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) day being observed on November 19, chest physicians in the city have called for efforts to control pollution on a war footing. COPD is a condition that arises due to obstruction of air flow in the lungs. Patients suffer from symptoms like chronic cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and limitation of activity in the later stages.

Know more about COPD

"Recent studies show that many people, especially youngsters, are taking steps to quit smoking. So, while smoking may be a major cause of COPD, pollution is the culprit behind the rise in cases," said pulmonologist Dr G S Vijayachandar from the Institute of Thoracic Medicine in Chetpet. The institute has recorded more than 4,000 cases of respiratory illnesses in the past one year, one-third of which are COPD cases. "We see 250 cases everyday and most of them are asthma and COPD cases. The numbers have certainly gone up," said the doctor, adding that there has been a 10% increase in COPD cases compared to last year.

Dr Mohan Kameshwaran of Madras ENT Research Foundation said that 90% of the patients who approached the pulmonology clinic at the hospital suffered from dust allergy. The clinic recorded 625 cases of COPD last year and the numbers went up to 775 till November this year. "Earlier only adults had such problems, but now pediatric allergies are also on the rise and it comprises 30% of cases. Patients come with wheezing, nasal bleeding and inflammation where there is a block in the airway, all being results of inhaling soot and carbon particles emitted from vehicles," he said.

Dusty Roads in Chennai

Respiratory physician Dr P K Thomas warned that COPD is an insidious disease that shows no symptoms until it is too late. "Nearly 50% of clinically significant COPD cases go undiagnosed. When they suffer from breathlessness, people should not ignore it as a normal part of getting older. They should approach a doctor," he said.

Particulate and Gaseous Emissions Inventory for Chennai
The pollution control board has set the permissible limit for respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) at 100 microgram/cubic metre. In 2013 the annual average quantity of particulate matter recorded at Anna Nagar, T Nagar and Kilpauk were way above the standard of 100 microgram per cubic meter. "The main reasons for the presence of suspended particulate matter in the air at least in the city limits are due to the vehicular traffic, dust and sand on the roads and ongoing construction activities," said K Ranganathan, Director (Labs), Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

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