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‘Lung illnesses 3rd leading cause of death’

A survey was carried out by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) and WLD partner organisations.

Ajita Singh | New Delhi |

Respiratory diseases remain a leading cause of death and disability worldwide as nearly 200 million people, or 4% of the world’s population, have COPD and 3.2 million die of it each year, making it the third-leading cause of death worldwide, according to a report launched on Saturday — the World Lung Day.

A survey was carried out by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) and WLD partner organisations.

There is an urgent need to address the issue of lung health and lung diseases, experts said.

Respiratory illnesses have assumed significance during the ongoing current global COVID-19 pandemic.

Even in a ‘normal year asthma affects more than 350 million people and is the most common chronic disease of childhood worldwide, said sources in the World Health Organization here.

Pneumonia kills more than 2.4 million people annually and is a leading cause of death among children younger than five and adults older than 65, the report said.

More than 10 million people develop TB and 1.4 million die of it each year, making it the most common lethal infectious disease, said Dr Ashwani Singh of Ambey Hospital, Sahibabad

Apart from Covid-19 pandemic that has so far claimed the lives of more than 4.5 million people globally, many more fatalities are reported largely from respiratory causes.

Lung cancer kills 1.8 million people each year.

Air pollution is another cause of death due to lung impairment, the report said.

As of 2016, approximately 38 million people are living with Asthma in India and about 5% of those are estimated to have severe asthma1.

Symptoms like cough, wheezing, breathlessness, tightness of the chest vary in severity and frequency in these patients.

While there is no cure for asthma, the best way of management is to avoid triggers and take medications that prevent asthma episodes.

Severe asthma presents with further challenges of being difficult to diagnose and treat. If left untreated by specialists, it may lead to disease flare-ups leading to frequent hospitalizations and poor quality of life.

World Lung Day has called for addressing the unmet treatment access to these diseases.

As per the Global Burden of Diseases data and other research studies, of more than 9 crore patients suffering from lung diseases, only one crore has access to the right management of lung care in India.

It seems 90% of lung patients are deprived of access to lung care, which brings to the fore, the massive treatment accessibility gap.

To fill this gap, Alkem Laboratories Ltd., on World Lung Day 2021, has launched Pulmocare, a division to enhance awareness, diagnosis and management for lung diseases like asthma, COPD, allergy, advanced lung diseases and lung infections through a wide range of products for lung care with an objective to bring a drastic change in lung treatment accessibility in India by way of early diagnosis, better patient reach and signified health promotion.

The causes of high lung disease burden have been identified as underutilization of diagnostic tools like spirometry; insufficient patient awareness of the disease; and delayed patient healthcare reach.

Sandeep Singh, Managing Director, Alkem Laboratories Ltd., stated. “Taking the stock of filling the massive gap of accessibility of lung care for the larger populace in India, we have decided to take a big leap to address huge lung diseases burden in the country by launching a comprehensive lung care division – Pulmocare.”