Genetics

Aging and chronic diseases share genetic factors, study reveals

The global population age 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups and faces the tide of chronic diseases threatening their quality of life and posing challenges to healthcare and economic systems. To better ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Flu vaccination keeps COPD patients out of the hospital

A new study published in the January issue of Chest establishes that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) face heightened risks of death, critical illness, and hospitalization if they develop the flu ...

Medical research

How lung tissue forms immune cell hubs in times of need

Immunology researchers at the Babraham Institute have discovered how lung tissue in mice is remodelled in response to infection with influenza in order to support an immune system response. A key result of this tissue remodelling ...

Medical research

Researchers breathe new life into COPD research using mouse models

The airways and lungs are affected by a range of diseases, but while some have been well characterized and treated, others, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), are still somewhat of an enigma. This condition ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers make important breakthrough in pulmonary fibrosis

A team of investigators led by members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty at CU Anschutz Medical Campus has identified a connection between mucus in the small airways and pulmonary fibrosis.

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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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