Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a respiratory infection involving progressive and permanent airway blockage and persistent low-grade systemic lung and pulmonary inflammation. Smoking is the major risk factor for developing and worsening the condition. Nonetheless, non-smokers can also acquire the disease (Regan et al., 2015). The disease is characterized by alveolar and airway abnormalities usually instigated by exposure to toxic gases or particles and chronic airflow limitations triggered by emphysema and obstructive bronchiolitis. The disease represents a significant clinical challenge and is among the leading causes of chronic mortality and mobility worldwide.
According to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD, 2019), the disease is medically preventable and treatable and has noteworthy extra-pulmonary impacts that lead to its relentlessness in patients. The pulmonary component of the disease is characterized by progressive, permanent airflow limitations and is linked to the lungâ€™s abnormal inflammatory response to toxic gases and particles. Effective early diagnosis of the infection stresses the significance of avoiding tobacco as a means of combating its progression, while in the advanced cases of COPD, a possible extra-pulmonary manifestation is advised. Despite being irreversible, treatment lowers its effects on life quality.
1.2.Risk Factors and Epidemiology
The National Center for Health Statistics indicates that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease causes about 5% of deaths in the U.S. annually (Copeland et al., 2018). It is ranked 4th and projected to be the 3rd leading cause of death by 2030 (WHO, 2019). Its prevalence is almost equal among women and men, though, for the past 15 years, deaths from COPD increased by over 300% in women to exceed that of men. This can be attributed to increased tobacco intake and a lower cessation rate in women than men.
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