Epidemiology of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is responsible for early mortality, high death rates and significant cost to health systems. Active smoking remains the main risk factor, but other factors are becoming better known, such as occupational factors, infections and the role of air pollution. Prevalence of COPD varies according to country, age and sex. This disease is also associated with significant comorbidities. COPD is a disorder that includes various phenotypes, the continuum of which remains under debate. Risk factors for developing COPD may be divided into two categories: exogenous (tobacco smoke, air pollution, work exposure, etc.) and endogenous (age, gender, genetic factors, etc.). Such factors, separately or in synergy, determine the subject’s susceptibility level for disease. Moreover, after adjusting for smoking, women exhibited a higher risk of being admitted to hospital for COPD than men. Tobacco smoking is the most important cause, but work exposure to noxious agents and air pollution play a remarkable role in the exacerbation and in the pathogenesis of chronic respiratory diseases, too. Thus, respiratory physicians, as well as public health professionals, should advocate for a cleaner environment.

  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Molecular and Genetic Risk Factors
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Genetics

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