November 15th this year is World COPD Day, with the theme “Lungs are vital to life, it’s urgent”. On the same day, the 2023 China COPD Prevention and Treatment Conference was held in Beijing. Wang Chen, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the National Center for Respiratory Medicine, said that COPD seriously endangers human health, but public awareness of the disease is low, and the proportion of COPD patients who have their lung function checked and receive standard treatment is also very low.
COPD is commonly known as “old chronic bronchitis” and “chronic asthmatic bronchitis”. It has the characteristics of “three highs”, namely high prevalence, high mortality and high disease burden. As of now, there are 99 million patients with COPD in my country. Yang Ting, deputy director of the Respiratory Center of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said that the prevalence of COPD among people over 40 years old in my country reaches 13.7%, and 1 in 4 people over 60 years old has COPD. COPD ranks third in single-disease mortality globally.
At the same time, COPD also has the characteristics of “three lows”. “First, the public awareness rate is low, and the awareness rate of COPD is less than 10%; second, the rate of pulmonary function tests is low, and epidemiological surveys found that only 5%-15% have had pulmonary function tests in the past; third, standard treatment The rate is low, especially at the grassroots level. For example, the first choice drug to treat COPD is inhaled drugs, but the most commonly used drugs at the grassroots level are antibiotics, phlegm-reducing drugs, and even oral hormones,” Yang Ting said.
Symptoms of COPD include cough, sputum production, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Wang Chen said that patients with COPD are also more likely to develop depression and anxiety.
“COPD has no obvious symptoms in the early stages and is called the ‘silent killer’. A large number of COPD patients have not been diagnosed.” Yang Ting said, “COPD can be diagnosed through pulmonary function tests. If patients are not treated in time, their lungs will Function will decline, and in the later stages, it will be complicated by pulmonary heart disease, respiratory failure, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, etc.”
“What is alarming is that one study found that 40% to 70% of lung cancer patients are patients with COPD.” said Niu Hongtao, an attending physician in the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at China-Japan Friendship Hospital.
How to prevent COPD? Lu Feng, deputy section chief of the Comprehensive Prevention and Treatment Department of the Institute of Chronic Diseases of the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the most important thing is to stay away from related risk factors. “The first is to stay away from tobacco. The most important preventive measure for COPD is to quit smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke; secondly, Stay away from harmful substances, and special occupational groups who are often exposed to dust, harmful gases or heavy metal particles should strengthen occupational protection; in addition, they should stay away from air pollution, reduce exposure to heavy oil fumes indoors, and go out less when there is haze outdoors.”
Lu Feng added that high-risk groups should check their lung function regularly and develop healthy living habits.
The environment changes greatly in winter. How can patients with COPD survive the winter smoothly? Yang Ting suggested keeping warm as respiratory diseases are prevalent, minimizing going out, taking precautions when going out, washing hands at home, and ventilating the home frequently; in addition, insist on taking medication and learn to monitor changes in the condition by observing coughs, sputum, etc.
In recent years, China has successively carried out the “Happy Breathing” China COPD standardized hierarchical diagnosis and treatment promotion project, the national grassroots respiratory disease early screening and intervention capacity improvement project, the national early screening and comprehensive intervention project for high-risk groups of COPD, COPD A lung disease prevention and treatment system has been gradually established.
“The difficulties and focus of COPD prevention and treatment are at the grassroots level.” Niu Hongtao said that it is necessary to enhance the public’s awareness of COPD, improve the COPD prevention and treatment level of grassroots medical staff, and equip grassroots pharmacies with COPD-related inhalers drug.