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November 18: World COPD Day

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of progressive lung diseases that obstruct airflow.
  • COPD affects more than 200 million people in the world, 65 million of whom have moderate or severe airway disease, and most studies show it is underdiagnosed by 72 to 93%.
  • COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide accounting for 3 million deaths each year –and the numbers are increasing.
  • Most COPD is caused by smoking: 1 in 4 smokers will get COPD.
  • COPD can also occur in those who’ve had long-term exposure and contact with harmful pollutants in their workplace. Some of these harmful lung irritants include certain chemicals, dust, or fumes. Heavy or long-term contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD. Rarely, it’s caused by something called alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. It’s a genetic condition that causes low levels of the AAT protein, which helps to protect the lungs. Genetics, air pollution, and recurrent respiratory infections may be contributing factors.
  • COPD is characterized by increasing cough, sputum production and breathlessness, with symptoms developing slowly and insidiously.
  • With proper management, however, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduce their risk of other associated conditions including heart disease and lung cancer.
  • IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY, NEVER TOO LATE to get tested for COPD you smoke or you have symptoms.