Our dear Sadiq Daba, award winning actor and journalist, has been diagnosed with a medical condition called COPD (a lung disease with persistent breathing problems that is not fully reversible).
This is exemplary philanthropy from Femi Otedola.
Wanna know what COPD is?
What is COPD?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
It is an umbrella for a collection of lung diseases mainly chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airway disease
Main thing is difficult breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of the airways.
So what basically happens is a progressive narrowing of the airways due to airway destruction from toxic substances.
This airway destruction and narrowing then reduces airflow to the lungs which causes the person to perpetually struggle to breathe.
Do you understand that?
So what causes COPD?
The main cause is Smoking.
It’s the biggest known cause.
Exposure of the airways to smoke and all the toxic substances that are inhaled during smoking causes damage to the airways which is non-fully reversible This is the biggest culprit and cause for COPD.
Other possible causes are from:
Air pollution (car fumes, open fires, firewood etc but also indoor pollution from cooking with stoves).
Work-related exposure to dusts, smoke fumes and chemicals.
All this can cause COPD.
There are other risk factors that makes a person prone to COPD-
There is conflicting report on wether it affects more men or women.
It seems to affect everyone equally.
It’s commoner in older people
Also common in people with asthma, HIV, people from a poor socioeconomic situation and also people with frequent chest infections as a child or born prematurely.
So what are typical symptoms of COPD?
They usually have things like:
-increasing breathlessness when they try to do simple activities like running, climbing stairs or even while sitting.
-a persistent cough with sputum.
-frequent chest infections.
These are commonest mostly.
So why does COPD actually occur?
The main cause is smoking as I earlier said.
The chances of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer the years you have been smoking.
This is because smoking irritates and destroys your airways/lungs, which causes scarring.
Over the years, all that smoking permanently destroys the airways, they lose their ability to expand as much as they should, they produce more mucus that is difficult to clear, this leads to reduced air reaching the lungs causing the person to breathe faster and more strenuously.
How is COPD diagnosed?
Anyone over 35 mainly.
Especially with difficulty breathing, chronic cough and frequent chest infections.
There are breathing tests (called spirometry) that are done which help to nail the diagnosis.
As at 2015, almost 175million people are affected globally.
In 2015, over 3million people died from COPD- 90% of which are in the developing world.
And the reason for the high death rate is:
Diagnosis is usually late.
Treatment may be delayed.
Money may be a problem for drugs.
There may be no facilities for prompt appropriate treatment.
So if you are poor and smoking in a country like Nigeria- you don’t want long life.
How can COPD be prevented?
IF you have never smoked, do NOT start.
Smoking does not only cause COPD, it can cause heart disease and lung cancer and kill you sooner and faster than you should die.
If you smoke, STOP now.
The earlier you stop, the better.
It’s never too late.
If you need any help with stopping smoking, speak with@MentallyAwareNG @TheNaijaMedics for simple advice on what you can do. Or go to a hospital and speak with a doctor or nurse at the Smoking Cessation Clinic.
There are many ways to help and support you if you want to stop.
The problem with COPD is it’s a “progressive” lung disease- meaning it would usually only get worse and worse.
The earlier you stop smoking, see a doctor and follow medical advice- the better
Eventually the breathing difficulty can make simple living very tasking and stressful.
The breathing difficulty can get to a point where the person becomes dependent on oxygen therapy- an artificial supply of oxygen.
Even while sitting/lying down, they may struggle very badly to breathe.
Until you see one patient, you would not even wish your enemy to have this.
To clarify- COPD is not contagious.
COPD is not hereditary or run in families.
However, IF you move around people who smoke, or stay in places where there’s a lot of smoking/dusts, work in places with a lot of smoking/fumes-
You become a secondary smoker and you can have COPD.
Wishing Sadiq Daba a quick recovery and deep appreciation to Femi Otedola.