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Global burden and natural history of COPD 

Global burden and natural history of COPD
Global burden and natural history of COPD

Trevor T. Hansel

and Onn Min Kon

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date: 23 September 2020

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD, 2007) defines COPD as a non-reversible, progressive, obstructive lung disease generally caused by the inhalation of noxious gases and particles. COPD is recognized as being both preventable and treatable.

The diagnosis of COPD is frequently made at a late stage, as many patients ignore early symptoms of cough and exertional dyspnea.

The severity of COPD is commonly assessed by spirometry, in terms of the post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1).

COPD is generally caused by tobacco smoking, but it is also caused by inhalation of smoke from burning biomass fuel in developing countries.

Tobacco smoking is rising globally because of increased smoking in many low-income countries.

In 2001 COPD was the fifth leading cause of death in high-income countries and the sixth leading cause of death in nations of low and middle income.

A series of genes have been associated with COPD and emphysema, but many of these associations have not been confirmed.

The annual rate of decline in FEV1 is the classical measure of the natural history of COPD.

Extrapulmonary systemic features of COPD include muscle weakness and wasting, cachexia, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, endocrine defects, anaemia, depression, and malignancies.

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