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COPD clinic opens at Ospital ng Maynila

By: Jaimie Rose A. Aberia

A new healthcare service specializing at treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease was opened at the Manila city government-run Ospital ng Maynila recently.

The opening of the hospital’s new pulmonary program is timely, according to Mayor Joseph Estrada, because COPD’s prevalence in the country remains significantly higher compared to the rest of the world, with one out of five Filipinos afflicted with pulmonary disease.

COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness.

Ospital ng Tondo director Dr. Isaias Cando Jr. said that most of COPD-related cases they treat are “community-acquired” pneumonia, infecting elder citizens aged 50 to 90.

“COPD commonly affects senior citizens because of the age factor, their weakened immune system, and being exposed to unfriendly environment like congested community, and with people na meron na silang sakit but are not treated because they do not consult,” Cando explained.

On the average, they admit three to four COPD patients weekly, he added.

Cando advised Manileños to pay extra attention to their health and regularly consult their doctors or visit the nearest community health center as simple cough and flu could deteriorate to pneumonia.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development revealed that smoking is still the leading cause of pulmonary diseases. It said that 50 percent of Filipinos – minors and adults – smoke and this has made COPD the sixth or seventh cause of death in the country.