COPD is a disease characterized by a progressive airflow limitations caused by an abnormal inflammatory reaction to the chronic inhalation of particles. (...) From a review of data from all over the world, it is clear that tobacco is not the only cause of COPD." (Romain A. Pauwels, MD, PhD, FCCP, "National and International Guidelines for COPD," Chest, 117/2/Feb. 2000 Supplement)
"Although COPD is a leading cause of illness and death, its recognition as a public health problem has been slow to evolve despite the rising mortality rate for COPD and the decline in death rates for most of the cardiovascular diseases. For example, between 1966 and 1995, the age-adjusted death rates for coronary heart disease and stroke declined by 45% and 58%, respectively, whereas the death rate for COPD increased by 71%!" (Suzanne Hurd, PhD, "The Impact of COPD on Lung Health Worldwide," Chest, 117/2/Feb. 2000 Supplement)
"COPD is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and imparts substantial economic burden on individuals and society. Despite the intense interest in COPD among clinicians and researchers, there is a paucity of data on health-care utilization, costs, and social burden in its population. The total economic costs of COPD morbidity and mortality in the United States were estimated at $23.9 billion in 1993. Direct treatments for COPD-related illness accounted for $14.7 billion, and the remaining $9.2 billion were indirect morbidity and premature mortality estimated at lost future earnings. Similar data from another US study suggest that 10% of persons with COPD account for 70% of all medical care costs. International studies of trends in COPD-related hospitalization indicate that (...) admissions per 1,000 persons per year for COPD have increased in all age groups 45 years of age. These trends reflect population aging, smoking patterns, institutional factors, and treatment practices.(Chest, 2000; 112:5S-9S)
The Global Obstructive Lung Disease Initiative, initiated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the World Health Organization, aims to raise awareness of the increasing burden of COPD, decrease morbidity and mortality, promote further study of the condition, and implement programs to prevent COPD. It is your responsibility as a citizen and a patient - if you happen to be one - to demand that the governments and legislative bodies worldwide launch a massive campaign to find effective treatment and possibly cure for this debilitating and deadly disease. You owe it to yourself and the future generations.