World COPD Day

World COPD Day

World COPD Day is an annual event to improve the awareness and care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease around the world, organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a type of obstructive lung disease characterised by chronic, poor airflow (airflow limitation), and the inability to breath out fully (air trapping). It is typically worsening with time. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, and sputum. The most common cause of COPD is tobacco smoking, with other factors such as air pollution and genetics playing a smaller role. The poor airflow is the result of a breakdown in lung tissue (known as emphysema), and small airway disease (known as bronchiolitis).

COPD affects nearly 5% of the world’s population. In 2012, it was ranked as the third-leading cause of death and is the only top-ten global killer that has an increasing rate year on year. The number of deaths caused by COPD is projected to continue increasing due to high smoking rates and an aging population in many countries.

Prevention: COPD is preventable by decreasing your exposure to smoke and improving the quality of air in both your home and workplace.

Management: No cure for COPD exists, but the symptoms are treatable and its progression can be delayed. Smoking cessation and supplemental oxygen have been shown to reduce mortality associated with COPD. Rehabilitation is a combination of exercise, disease management and counselling.

Global cost: COPD was estimated to result in economic costs of $2.1 trillion in 2010, $1.9 trillion of this from direct costs, such as medical care.

It’s not too late!