Dubai, UAE, 18th November 2015 – On World COPD Day, 18th November 2015, experts are urging UAE residents to educate themselves about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and understand the risk factors with the hope of slowing the increasing incidence of this life-threatening disease.
That was the message from the UAE National Respiratory Forum, a special conference hosted by AstraZeneca Gulf that bought together experts in respiratory medicine to look for ways to tackle COPD and other respiratory diseases across the region.
COPD is a term for a number of conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema affects the lungs’ air sacs and chronic bronchitis affects the airways. People with COPD can have one or both of these conditions, which cause breathing difficulties such as breathlessness and chronic cough, and is responsible for three million deaths each year worldwide.1
Dr. Bassam Mahboub, Head of Allergy and Respiratory Department, Rashid Hospital, Dubai, and Head of Emirates Allergy and Respiratory Society said COPD represents a major public health problem in countries like the UAE. “COPD has a major personal, social and economic impact,” Dr Mahboub said.
“The prevalence of COPD in the UAE is at least 1-in-25 of the population2 and the rate goes up each year. Fortunately it is largely preventable – if people know the causes,” he said. The primary cause of COPD is tobacco smoke through tobacco use or second-hand smoke.
“Daily activities, such as walking up a short flight of stairs or carrying a bag of shopping, can become very difficult as the condition gradually worsens,” added Dr. Mohamed Harris from Al Zahra Hospital, Sharjah.
“Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD, but there are lots of treatments available to help manage the condition and improve symptoms. People experiencing any unusual breathing should see their doctor for a lung test,” Dr. Haris advised.
COPD is confirmed by a diagnostic test called spirometry that measures how much air a person can inhale and exhale, and how fast air can move into and out of the lungs.
The UAE National Respiratory Forum is the first of a series of events held across the region and hosted by AstraZeneca Gulf as part of its commitment to improving outcomes for people with respiratory diseases living in the Gulf region.