Nepal was one of the countries that registered the highest concentration of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) cases in 2015, said The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in its study released on August 18, 2017.
The other countries that saw the highest number of COPD-affected cases were Papua New Guinea, India and Lesotho.
The study published by The Lancet Respiratory Medicine informed that about 3.2 million succumbed to COPD, globally.
According to the World Health Organization, COPD was the top-four cause of death in 2015, followed by heart disease (6 million), stroke (6 million) and lower respiratory infections (3.2 million).
COPD is a group of lung conditions including emphysema and bronchitis which make it difficult to breathe, caused mainly by smoking and pollution.
While COPD and asthma are the two most common chronic lung diseases, asthma alone accounted for 400,000 deaths in 2015.
The study noted that COPD is eight times deadlier than asthma. Even though the treatment for both the diseases is affordable, many sufferers are often left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or under-treated, the study added.
Even though COPD prevalence and related death rates have declined during 1990 to 2015, the overall numbers increased with nearly 12 percent more deaths because of population growth, found the research team, led by Theo Vos, professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The team analyzed data from 188 countries to estimate, in each one, the number of cases and deaths annually from 1990 to 2015.
“These diseases have received less attention than other prominent non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes,” Vos said in a statement.
High-income Asian nations and countries in central Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Western Europe were least affected by COPD. Whereas, Central and Eastern Europe, along with China, Japan and Italy registered the lowest rates of asthma.