Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is common in countries such as Việt Nam with a high rate of smokers and will have an upward trend in the country if smoking is not eliminated, according to health experts.
Dr Trần Văn Ngọc, chairman of the HCM City Respiratory Society, said that COPD, a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, is a global health burden, affecting 4.77 per cent of the world’s population.
Ngọc spoke at a press conference on an action programme to reply to the World COPD (Nov 18) held yesterday by the HCM City Respiratory Society in co-operation with GlaxoSmithKline Pte. Ltd.
Globally, COPD last year was the fourth cause of fatalities and is estimated to become the third in 2030, Ngọc said.
Việt Nam has nearly 4 million patients with COPD, and in 2014, the country was in the top 10 countries with the highest cigarette consumption, according to Ngọc.
The country is carrying out a national strategy for prevention and control of tobacco harmful effects until 2020, which will help reduce consumption.
“In the country, patients with COPD are diagnosed at severe stages when they have symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath,” Ngọc said, adding that this is why the number of patients with COPD in treatment is low.
Indoor smoke from biomass is the main cause of COPD in the country, he said.
Dr Nguyễn Như Vinh, of the University Medical Centre’s Respiratory Diseases Ward, said this cause was not included in the prevention programme for COPD.
Vinh added that he and his colleagues conducted a fresh air study in 2010 in the city’s Bình Chánh District and Tây Ninh Province, which showed that the level of particle matter with a diametre less than 2.5 mcm, including dust, dirt, and smoke, in the air was 15,900 mcg per cubic metre.
The World Health Organisation’s standard is 35 mcg per cubic metre.
Moreover, environmental pollution is one of the causes of COPD, he said.
He cited a study conducted by the National Lung Hospital, saying that the prevalence of patients with COPD caused by biomass smoke and environmental pollution in the country last year was 8.1 per cent.
Ngọc said that each doctor examined 200 patients every day, leading to insufficient counselling for patients, including ones with COPD.
“Sufficient counselling is very important for patients so they use the right medicine,” he said, adding that nearly 57 per cent of patients with COPD do not follow the treatment regimen.
Vinh said that patients with COPD were given medicine only, while counselling on nutrition and exercise were ignored.
“Patients need comprehensive treatment,” he added. —VNS