Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Why are people still dying from Legionnaires' disease?

In the nearly 50 years since epidemiologists first discovered Legionnaires' disease, we have learned how to test for it, treat it and prevent it. So why are people still dying from it and why are more and more people becoming ...

Medical research

Researchers discover cause of asthmatic lung spasms

Researchers at Rutgers and other institutions have discovered how muscle contraction (bronchospasm) in the airway, which cause breathing difficulty in people with asthma, occur by creating a microdevice that mimics the behavior ...

Health

Sick and dying workers demand help after cleaning coal ash

The Tennessee Valley Authority, long respected for providing good jobs and cheap electricity, is facing a growing backlash over its handling of a massive coal ash spill a decade ago, with potentially serious consequences ...

Cardiology

New guidance on potentially fatal blood clots published today

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines on acute pulmonary embolism are published online today in European Heart Journal. They were developed in collaboration with the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Adding clinical variables improves accuracy of lung allocation score

Implemented back in 2005, the lung allocation score is used to prioritize patients awaiting lung transplants in the United States. Sicker transplant candidates have a higher calculated score and are placed at the top of the ...

HIV & AIDS

HIV infection increases risk of other health outcomes

People living with HIV are more likely to develop certain other health conditions over the course of their lives. A comprehensive international analysis of more than 3,000 studies on the subject of HIV, in which MedUni Vienna ...

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), chronic airflow limitation (CAL) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD), is the co-occurrence of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs, causing shortness of breath (dyspnea). In clinical practice, COPD is defined by its characteristically low airflow on lung function tests. In contrast to asthma, this limitation is poorly reversible and usually gets progressively worse over time. In England, an estimated 842,100 of 50 million people have a diagnosis of COPD.

COPD is caused by noxious particles or gas, most commonly from tobacco smoking, which triggers an abnormal inflammatory response in the lung.

The diagnosis of COPD requires lung function tests. Important management strategies are smoking cessation, vaccinations, rehabilitation, and drug therapy (often using inhalers). Some patients go on to require long-term oxygen therapy or lung transplantation.

Worldwide, COPD ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in 1990. It is projected to be the fourth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030 due to an increase in smoking rates and demographic changes in many countries. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the economic burden of COPD in the U.S. in 2007 was $42.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.

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