As we head towards the 21st year of World COPD Day let us look at the history and evolving changes in COPD over the years!
In 2002 World COPD day was a limited campaign for members of the GOLD assembly, in later years owing to advancement of technical information sharing and social media, today World COPD Day is a global event. This platform increases awareness of COPD prevention, diagnosis and management across healthcare and members of the public.
COPD is currently the third global cause of death, inspiring policyholders across the world to address airways disease. GOLD endeavours to work towards educating all about COPD, encouraging healthcare providers to explore risk factors that may drive the onset of COPD; smoking, occupational exposure, air pollution, early life events, genetics, and others factors that may affect lung health.
Available treatments for COPD have improved considerably over the last 20 years with the introduction of new inhaled and oral treatments and innovative surgical/bronchoscopic techniques.
GOLD 2023 new definition’ “a heterogeneous lung condition characterised by chronic respiratory symptoms (dyspnea, cough, expectoration, exacerbations) due to abnormalities of the airways (bronchitis, bronchiolitis) and/or alveoli (emphysema) that cause persistent, often progressive, airflow obstruction.”
The subdivision of COPD into emphysema and chronic bronchitis has been removed given the overlap between the two conditions and poor delineation between them (GOLD, 2023). The new definition allows us to highlight and examine all factors individually contributing to the diagnosis and eitology of COPD in more detail, providing an understanding of disease pathogenesis and treatment paradigms.
The 2023 theme for World COPD Day will be “Breathing is Life – Act Earlier”. This year’s theme aims to highlight the importance of early lung health, early diagnosis and early interventions.
Keeping lungs healthy is an integral part of future health and it is now more important than ever to act sooner. We now know that there are many other factors besides tobacco smoking that can contribute to COPD and that it can start early in life and effect young individuals. In addition, we have now identified precursor conditions that can provide new opportunities for early diagnosis and prompt treatment. This campaign will focus on highlighting the importance of early lung health and how we can expand the horizon of COPD prevention and treatment by acting earlier. This can include preventing early risk factors, monitoring lung health from birth, diagnosing COPD in a precursor state and providing treatment promptly (GOLD, 2023).
Joanne Thompson – COPD Lead, ARNS Respiratory Disease Sub Committee