Why focus on COPD and COPD treatment

Anyone that suffers from COPD will realise just how important a disease management program is. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is very common and this disease has shown there are significant opportunities to improve the care for people who suffer from COPD. COPD is a target for disease management programs because it is the fourth leading cause of mortality.

COPD impairs the ability to carry out the activities of daily living and adversely affects quality of life. In 1990, COPD was the twelfth leading cause of disability-adjusted life years worldwide, after major depression, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, traffic accidents, and other causes. However, COPD is expected to rank in fifth place after these four causes of disability-adjusted life years by the year 2020.

COPD is characterised by airflow limitation that is partially reversible; the airflow limitation usually is both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases (especially tobacco smoke). The disease is usually not diagnosed until it is clinically apparent and relatively advanced. Symptoms of COPD include cough, mucus production, and dyspnoea (having difficulty with breathing). The first symptom to develop in COPD sufferers is a chronic cough. However, patients typically do not seek medical attention until dyspnoea interferes with their quality of life.

Spirometry is used to measure the pulmonary function as well as confirm the diagnosis. Dyspnoea is a major cause of COPD disability. It is fair to say that the biggest risk factor is smoking but exposure to occupational dusts and chemicals such as vapours, irritants and fumes as well as outdoor and indoor pollution are also high risk factors in the cause of COPD.

Obtaining a diagnosis of COPD and a greater understanding of the disease can reduce delays in treatment, a decline in lung function as well as a decline in quality of life.

The lack of awareness and the burden of the disease serve as incentives to apply disease management strategies for the treatment of COPD.  Education and training of health care providers and the public could improve the detection and treatment of COPD.

A well implemented disease management strategy can potentially improve the outcome for patients who suffer from COPD.

Disease management for COPD sufferers can improve the patient outcomes and improve their quality of life, which can also potentially reduce the overall COPD treatment. A disease management programme is also effective if you are involved in sports activity where COPD can hinder your performance, one such sport is tennis which is a high stamina sport. A well managed programme can improve your overall tennis performance and make it a more enjoyable experience.

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