Michael R. Littner, MD
Littner MR. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:ITC3-1. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-148-5-200803040-01003
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(5):ITC3-1.
Editor's Note: This issue of In the Clinic has been updated.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Unlike the sharp reduction in death from heart disease, there has been an almost 100% increase in age-adjusted mortality between 1970 and 2002 due to COPD. It is currently the fourth leading cause of mortality and is projected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future. In 2000, the number of deaths in women was equal to that in men (1).
COPD is a treatable and preventable, but incurable, disease characterized by progressive airflow obstruction associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases (2, 4). Patients with COPD may meet the spirometry criteria for the diagnosis but remain asymptomatic. On the other hand, they may present with a variety of respiratory symptoms, including those of chronic bronchitis, or signs of emphysema on physical examination or imaging studies.
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Pulmonary/Critical Care, Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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