COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is a chronic inflammatory lung disease characterized by restricted airflow that mainly affects middle-aged or elderly adults who smoke. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease that results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and mucus production. Restricted airflow is caused by a mixture of obstructive bronchitis and fibrosis in the small airways and the destruction of the lung parenchyma, leading to emphysema.
How many people have COPD?
COPD is an underdiagnosed disease with a prevalence of 251 million cases worldwide. With 3.2 million deaths in 2015, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused 5% of all deaths worldwide, making it the third leading cause of death. Tobacco smoke is the main cause of COPD, but other important risk factors include indoor and outdoor air pollution and workplace dust or fumes.
How is COPD treated?
There is no cure for COPD, but bronchodilators are the most common type of treatment to improve lung function and relieve symptoms temporarily. The treatment regimen is based on symptoms, lung function and risk of exacerbations.
How is COPD diagnosed?
Current diagnosis is based on spirometry with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) value below 0.7 after bronchodilation. This confirms persistent airflow limitation and, together with symptoms, leads to a diagnosis.
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