8 Things You Need to Know About COPD
1. COPD is a leading cause of death worldwide
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and the World Health Organization estimates that 3 million deaths were caused by the disease in 2015, which represents 5% of all deaths globally. By 2020, it is estimated to be the third leading cause of death worldwide.1
2. COPD is a seldom discussed, underdiagnosed disease
As compared to other leading causes of death such as heart disease, stroke and cancer, COPD is a seldom-discussed disease and many people are unaware of what COPD is. The disease is among the most common, most underdiagnosed, most debilitating, most deadly and most costly to manage.
3. There are a shocking number of people who remain undiagnosed
While an estimated 210 million people worldwide estimated to have COPD,2 less than half have actually been diagnosed.
4. In the Philippines, COPD remains a serious disease
COPD is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the Philippines. It has a prevalence rate of 14% among Filipino adults aged 40 and above. Only 2% of the cases are diagnosed by doctors in contrast to the overall prevalence.3
5. COPD is not a curable disease, but it can be managed
COPD as a disease cannot be cured, but the good news is that there are available treatment options that can greatly improve the quality of life of patients, which include pharmacotherapies and nebulizes to deliver drugs. Besides these, long-term oxygen therapy and noninvasive ventilation (NIV) therapy options also help patients cope with the disease and reduce hospitalization rates.
6. One’s risk of COPD increases with age
COPD develops slowly and becomes more apparent after 40 or 50 years of age. It is a progressive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe (or even blow a pinwheel), with symptoms that include breathlessness, chronic cough or sputum production.
7. Non-smokers can also be at risk of COPD
While perceived to be a “smoker’s disease”, non-smokers can also develop COPD due to environmental factors. Exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution, or noxious particles or gases from biomass fuels increases the risk of developing COPD4. Those living in Asia Pacific are also at risk due to the region’s rapid development, with 56.6 million are afflicted with moderate to severe COPD in Asia.
8. Those with COPD should know that there are ways to help them stay active
COPD patients can, with the right treatment and therapy, continue their way of life. Russell Winwood, a renowned COPD athlete and Philips ambassador, completed his first full Ironman just six months after his diagnosis, despite the fact that his lungs function at only 22%.