Rising air pollution; major cause behind COPD

Smoking is one of the causes of COPD. It is not all the smokers get COPD. However, people who have never smoked can get COPD. According to reports, the rising level of air pollution can be the leading cause of COPD in future, if the pollution levels do not remain under check.

Globally, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of the most common Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including India, it is a major cause of healthcare burden. Statistics suggest that its prevalence continues to rise.
Smoking is one of the major causes behind COPD. While not all smokers catch COPD, it is not also that everyone who smokes gets COPD. However, people who have never smoked can also get COPD. According to reports, the rising level of air pollution can be the leading cause of COPD in the future if the pollution levels are not kept under check.
In COPD, it is difficult for a patient to breathe. COPD is a general term used for conditions marked by permanent inflammation of the bronchi, the tubes that bring air into the lungs. It also causes damage to the air sacks of the lungs.
Causes of COPD in non-smokers, according to a recent study published in Indian Journal of Medical Research:
Both indoor and outdoor air pollutions are recognized as a cause of COPD through exposure to smoke from combustion of solid or biomass fuels.
Household air pollution is frequently reported risk factor in the non-smoking population.
Exposure to non-fuel-related air pollutants, such as environmental tobacco smoke (i.e., passive smoking), volatile gases, fumes and dust, industrial and traffic exhausts may also contribute to the development of COPD
Other risk factors include poorly controlled chronic asthma, occupational exposures to dust and smokes, poor socio-economic status, malnutrition, childhood respiratory infections and history of pulmonary tuberculosis
With the rising pollution, the risk of getting COPD increases. Dr SN Gaikwad, Pulmonologist at Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), Pune, said, “Earlier, exposure to Chulha was the major cause for COPD. But, these days, in urban areas, we are seeing many patients who do not smoke but still have COPD. It can be attributed to the rising level of air pollution in urban areas.”
Dr Mahaveer Modi, Pulmonologist from Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, said, “According to statistics mentioned in Global Burden of Diseases report published in 1997, non-smokers were 80 percent from the total population suffering from COPD. Those days, smoke which used to come from traditional Chulhas was the main reason. Nowadays, air pollution has also become one of the major cause of COPD. It is imperative to have the strict application of industrial laws.”