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Group of chest physicians, GSK tie up for prevention of COPD

When we were trying hard to catch our breaths laughing our hearts out of his comical antics, he was also catching his because of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

It is not known by many, but Dolphy, a Filipino household name for comedy for a long time, died a few years back due to COPD. The progressive lung ailment, which is caused by smoking, secondhand smoke, occupational dusts, and pollution—indoor and outdoor—can be traced when a person experiences breathlessness, abnormal sputum by a mix of saliva and mucus, and chronic cough.

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COPD ranks as the seventh killer disease in the country, according to the Department of Health. It is assumed to rise to third by year 2020.

“Only 2 percent out of 4 million Filipinos are diagnosed with COPD. That’s a small number,” said Dr. Patrick Moral of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP).

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Although there is no known treatment as of the moment, Moral said COPD can be prevented.

He said there are medications that could open up the airways of COPD patients, making it easier to breathe. They are also taught to exercise and to cope with shortness of breath.

“However, in terms of a specific treatment that really tackles the damage that has been done by cigarette smoke, we have no medications for that yet,” Moral said.

Campaign launch

But last November, in commemoration of World COPD Day, GlaxoSmithKline and PCCP launched a campaign called “#MakeTimeForDad,” with Dolphy’s sons Eric and Epy Quizon spreading word on fighting the disease.

The campaign aims to focus on encouraging families to remind their fathers to seek consultation on COPD detection. Out of the four million COPD patients in the country, men are mostly diagnosed with the disease.

“Our goal is to prevent and to catch it early on. We can hopefully retire the progression of the disease,” he said. “We are trying to go around the country looking for people who have the disease so we can have the prevalence.”

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Moral noted that COPD is different from lung cancer, which has a shorter period of progression.

“With COPD, it’s a longer process… it takes forever, a long time, but patients on a latter portion may die quickly,” he said. “It’s an indolent progression.”

He added that it is also often confused as asthma “which is not brought about by smoking but more of hereditary. The deterioration in the lung is not as much.”

With the help of #MakeTimeforDad campaign and PCCP, Moral said Filipinos can fully prevent COPD in the long run.

“If we only take the time to seek consultation, even if it’s just what they think is a smoker’s cough, it may actually save one COPD from actually progressing. That’s the main goal—a zero rate of COPD,” he said.

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TAGS: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, copd, health and science, prevention
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