According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the deaths due to lung diseases in India were on the rise accounting for 11 per cent of the total deaths. As many as 142.09 in every one lakh, died of one form of lung disease or the other giving India the dubious distinction of ranking first in lung disease deaths in the world.
Respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB) are emerging as major health problems in the region.
According to studies, pulmonary fibrosis comprises 15 per cent of the pulmonary physician’s practice. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has estimated the incidence of COPD as 5 per cent in Indian men.
Recent trends show that instances of chronic respiratory diseases are also on the rise in key cities of Andhra Pradesh, especially in Vijayawada and neighbouring districts of Guntur and West Godavari, exacerbated mainly by vehicular pollution, air and dust pollution, habit of smoking and increased population.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board trends, the air quality in Vijayawada was worse than Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad particularly with regard to Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (PM10). According to the annual average data, the PM10 in Vijayawada was not within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Heart and Lung Transplant surgeon from Global Health City, Chennai, Govini Balasubramani said a 0.05 per cent increase in prevalence of ILD was reported from Vijayawada and surrounding areas. Post pulmonary TB ‘sequela’, bilateral Bronchiectasis and COPD often turn into end-stage (final stage of disease not of life) respiratory diseases.
Lung transplantation was the only option to treat pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, cystic fibrosis and other end-stage respiratory diseases. Unfortunately awareness on the benefits of lung transplantation was poor even in the medical community with several patients being deprived of its benefits.
Respiratory diseases were no longer restricted to the elderly but were now being detected even in younger age groups. Lung transplantation which was much cheaper in the country when compared to most developed countries could improve the quality of life and expand lifespan for end-stage lung disease patients, Dr Balasubramani said.