MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Like cancer, COPD cures smoking. As a debilitating ailment, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the end result of personal lifestyle choice.
And like all lifestyle choices, one can opt not to fall for the hazy allure of smoking, the main culprit for COPD.
Thus, the Philippine College of Chest Physicians has partnered with Novartis Healthcare Philippines to promote public awareness on COPD and continuing medical education to local physicians to enhance the diagnosis and management of the disease.
The PCCP, the specialty organization of pulmonologists (respiratory health specialist in the country) entered a memorandum of agreement with Novartis recently.
Caused primarily by cigarette smoking…[pq]…COPD is a progressive life-threatening disease that makes it hard to breathe, with symptoms that have a deleterious impact on patient’s function and quality of life.[/pq]
Thus, even simple daily activities such as walking up to a short flight of stairs can become a challenge as the condition gradually worsens.
“Smokers have to quit smoking because you are not just only hurting yourselves but also other people by giving them second hand smoke,” said pulmonologist Dr. Teresita De Guia, stressing the need for those afflicted to see a doctor if they have chronic cough, shortness of breath, sputum production.
Dr. De Guia, also National Launch Leader, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, said achieving symptomatic control for COPD patients can be a real challenge.
Under the MoA, the PCCP would appoint some of its members as resource speakers who would present the module on “COPD Educational and Research Program” to PCCP chapters in the country and to consultants and physicians-in training in selected hospitals.
Novartis Healthcare Philippines would provide capacity building and logistical support to facilitate the cascading of the module to the PCCP chapters and training institutions.
”Novartis has a long history of innovation in COPD treatment and commitment in improving the quality of life of patients with this debilitating lung disease,” said Dr. Nikolaos Tripodis, president and managing director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines, who also talked about the launch of first-class once-daily dual bronchodilator known as QVA149, to relieve symptoms and reduce exacerbations (sudden worsening of symptoms) in adult patients with COPD in the country.
Despite current medical treatments available, many patients still suffer symptoms such as shortness of breath, which can have severe impact on their ability to carry out normal daily activities such as difficulty getting out of bed or walking up a flight of stairs.
COPD is a major public health issues in the country, with up to one in five Filipinos (14 percent to 20 percent) suffering from the disease.
Only three percent of COPD patients in the country consult a doctor while 50 percent are not aware that they have the disease.[pq]COPD is often thought of as a disease of the elderly, as many as half of the COPD patients are below the age of 65 when they are likely to be at the peak of their earning power and family responsibilities.[/pq]
Overall, 28.3 percent (17.3 million) of the country’s population aged 15 years old and over currently smoke tobacco: 47.7 percent (14.6 million) are men, and nine percent (2.8 million) are women.
The majority of deaths attributable to smoking are caused by COPD and cerebro-vascular diseases, according to Philippine Global Adult Survey 2009.
– DFF, Medical Observer