What is it about?

COPD is a common disease affecting the lungs, affecting at least 10% of adult populations globally. Of the risk factors known, smoking predominates, while atmospheric pollution and household biomass fuel pollution also affect people in mainly low to middle income countries and regions. Too little is known generally about how to modulate these external effects, and governments as well as other agencies like WHO need to address public health issues to diminish risk, especially promotion of smoking in these countries by Tobacco Companies, household cooking and heating engineering, as well as industrial and transportation derived pollution. Finally, access to effective and safe treatments (which includes adequate health surveillance, respiratory vaccinations, assistance for smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation and long acting inhaled bronchodilators) needs to be enhanced.

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Why is it important?

The incidence of COPD is increasing, especially in low and middle income countries. Also, because life expectancy is improving generally, prevalence is growing even faster. COPD causes great burden for sufferers (reduced ability to be productive and enjoy life), family members (who need to provide care), health systems (because COPD results in high rates of health care utilisation, especially hospitalisations) and societies (with accumulating rates of dependency).

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This page is a summary of: It is time for the world to take COPD seriously: a statement from the GOLD board of directors, European Respiratory Journal, July 2019, European Respiratory Society (ERS),
DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00914-2019.
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