Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Tens of millions of people around the world suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a life-threatening lung disease that encompasses several conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. WHO believes COPD kills three million people every year and will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

What is COPD?

COPD is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, usually from smoking.

“Traditionally COPD has been seen as a result of smoking tobacco, but that view is changing with indoor air pollution increasingly being blamed,” said Bengt Rittri, founder and CEO of Blueair, a leader in indoor air cleaning technologies. Bengt was speaking on World COPD Day, which is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) with the aim to raise awareness of COPD and improve patients’ care throughout the world.

COPD develops slowly and is most frequently diagnosed in people aged 40 years or over who may suffer an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, respiratory infections, diabetes, anxiety and depression, and lung cancer. Symptoms may include a chronic cough, sputum production, difficult or labored breathing and a history of exposure to risk factors for the disease, according to WHO.

Key ways to manage COPD include reducing exposure to tobacco smoke, occupational dust and chemicals, and indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Other steps encompass preventing the progression of the disease in a sufferer, relieving symptoms and improving daily health and exercise regimes.

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