ABOUT RESPIRATORY DISEASE
CASES OF CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASE ARE INCREASING
Asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are respiratory diseases characterized by inflammation and airway constriction. An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, while COPD affects around 210 million people around the globe. These conditions are becoming more and more prevalent: today around 25% of adults over the age of 40 have at least mild problems with airflow obstruction.
Asthma is marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs. This leads to coughing, especially at night, as well as wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain or tightness. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and last from an hour to several weeks. Exposure to allergens (including dust and pet dander) or irritants (such as smoke) can be triggers, while family history and chronic infections are additional risk factors. Asthma is generally fully reversible with the correct treatment.
COPD is characterized by an obstruction of the airway that is not fully reversible, but can be managed. The main cause of COPD is smoking. However, pollution, fumes and dust can also contribute. Symptoms include breathlessness, phlegm in the airways and a persistent cough. COPD is a long-term illness where symptoms may suddenly get worse.
Without proper treatment respiratory disease can be fatal. The effective management of asthma and COPD is of key importance with regards to individual health status as well as the best possible future outcome.