Doctors urge more public awareness of pulmonary disease, amid increased health risks

Cai Wenjun
Medical experts recommend regular screenings for pulmonary disease, especially for patients over the age of 40. The disease is currently the third leading cause of death in China.
Cai Wenjun

Local medical experts have warned smokers, anyone with exposure to harmful gas and dust, and those with a family history of pulmonary disease to be aware of the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

It currently impacts about 100 million people in China, with one patient among every eight aged over 40.

There are 2.5 people killed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, every minute worldwide. It's the third leading cause of death, following stroke and cardiovascular disease, in China. However, there is still a lack of public awareness of the disease, doctors said on Wednesday, the World COPD Day.

This year's theme is "Breathing is Life – Act Earlier," highlighting the importance of early lung health screenings, early diagnosis and early interventions. Keeping lungs healthy is an integral part of future health and it's now more important than ever to act sooner, as less than 3 percent of patients in China have their disease diagnosed, and less than 10 percent of the public are aware of the disease.

Doctors urge more public awareness of pulmonary disease, amid increased health risks
Ti Gong

A woman receives lung function tests at a COPD screening.

COPD is a common chronic respiratory disease, with various symptoms like coughing and breathing difficulties. If not treated in time, it can result in respiratory failure, heart disease and even fatal conditions.

"COPD can be identified through lung function screening, while proper health management and medication can delay its deterioration. We suggest people receive lung function tests in their annual health checkups, after the age of 40," said Dr Zhu Huili from the Shanghai COPD Union, which teamed up with other medical organizations and AstraZeneca to launch a scientific education and screening for COPD at the Shanghai Meilong Neighborhood Health Center, for local residents.

Dr Jie Zhijun from the Shanghai Grassroot Union of Respiratory Disease said people with suspicious symptoms should receive timely screenings for early detection. "Those who are smoking or exposed to environments with biofuel burning and air pollution should receive regular screenings," he said.

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