New Worldwide Program Launched to Save Lives For Those Suffering From Chronic Lung Disease
LONDON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The first international guidelines for the diagnosis, management and prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the fourth leading cause of death in the world (1), were released today by an international te
``COPD receives significantly inadequate attention from healthcare communities and governments, in comparison to its impact on the world's population,'' Professor Romain Pauwels, Workshop Chair explains. ``In order to reverse the increasing prevalence, a unified international effort is required. GOLD is a committed team of COPD experts and medical associations from more than 100 countries and its members will personally act to bring about the needed change in their home countries.''
The COPD Report, endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and reviewed by representatives from societies from the developed and developing world, focuses on implementation of the Guidelines at a national level by GOLD members and government organisations. Phases II and III will focus on family physicians and patients.
``The impact of COPD on a global scale is immense. With the dedication of the GOLD members and implementation of the programme they are introducing, the burden of COPD should decline in nations worldwide,'' says Nikolai Khaltaev, Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, WHO.
Claude Lenfant, Director of the NHLBI adds, ``Research has shown that early intervention in patients with COPD can slow disease progression and reduce symptoms. While we continue to look for improved treatments -- and ultimately a cure -- for COPD, it is important that we do everything possible to educate clinicians worldwide to better diagnose and treat this devastating disease. We believe that the GOLD initiative will further these goals.''
The report highlights the need for recognition of cough and sputum production as symptoms of people at risk of COPD. They also emphasise that good management involves the assessment of both symptoms and lung function, rather than one or the other alone.
The GOLD report also sets forth a formal system of four categories of severity of the disease and provides practical recommendations on the reduction of risk factors, management of stable COPD, and of COPD exacerbations.
``Guidelines are often unrealistic and difficult to apply. However the GOLD Workshop Report takes into account the differences in health care systems around the world and provides a practical scheme for the introduction of effective therapies,'' comments respiratory specialist Professor Peter Calverley, Professor of Pulmonary and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Liverpool, UK.
COPD is characterised by reduced airflow that is not fully reversible. Airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. Symptoms range from a cough and sputum production in those 'at risk' to respiratory or heart failure in those with severe disease. While cigarette smoking is a major known risk factor, much remains to be learned about other causes of COPD.