Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (briefly COPD) is a health issue that is widespread globally. It is the result of long-lasting bronchial inflammation, which is manifested by impaired bronchial patency (obstruction) and a change in the structure of pulmonary tissue (“COPD,” n.d.). The disease is manifested by a cough of varying degrees of severity and increasing shortness of breath. Although some adverse COPD outcomes have declined slightly in recent decades, its social burden is still high.
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Several factors can cause the appearance and development of this disease. The most important of them is the long-term systematic impact on the bronchus of harmful substances polluting inhaled air, primarily smoking (“COPD,” n.d.). Tobacco smoke is a primary factor for this disease, and its development is facilitated not only by active but also passive smoking, especially in childhood (“COPD,” n.d.). For these reasons, people should avoid smoking and long stays in polluted air.
The disease has different types – emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In 2016 almost 12,5 million of Americans were diagnosed with one them (“COPD: Facts,” 2018). COPD rates may differ depending on the place of residence and even the sex of the person. For example, according to the CDC in the United States, a higher incidence can be found along lower Mississippi Rivers and Ohio (“Data and Statistics,” 2018). Experts also point out that since the beginning of the millennium, the mortality rates from COPD for men have decreased, but for women, they remained the same (“Data and Statistics,” 2018). According to another study, this lung disease is the fourth reason of death globally, threatening to become the third by 2030 (Argyriou et al., 2016). Moreover, the study confirms that men more often suffer from COPD, and 50% of patients are over 65 years old.
The primary means to relieve the burden of the disease on society is public awareness. Many smoking control measures are already implemented, but further action is necessary. Constant information campaigns about the harms of smoking can have an effect. For passive and active smokers, it is necessary to introduce annual screenings, regardless of the manifestation of symptoms of the disease, to identify the first signs of the disorder and start treatment in time. Several other aspects for information are promoting a healthy lifestyle, workplace safety, and environmental cleanliness.
Argyriou, E., Atmatzidou, V., & Bellou, A. (2016). AB010. Economic and social burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Annals of Translational Medicine, 4(22), 1-2.
COPD: Facts, Statistics, and You. (2018). Web.
Data and Statistics. (2018). Web.
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