Asthma, COPD treatable

| August 21, 2017

Although the number of cases of asthma has increased worldwide since 1990, fewer people are dying from the condition, according to an IrishHealth.com story citing a new Global Burden of Disease study that looked at the impact of the two most common respiratory diseases worldwide, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, between 1990 and 2015.

The study found that while the number of cases of asthma increased by 12 percent during this period, from 318 million in 1990 to 358 million in 2015, the number of deaths from the disease fell during the same period by just more than 26 percent, from 550,000 to 400,000.

Asthma is the world’s most common chronic respiratory disease, followed by COPD. However, while there are twice as many cases of asthma as there are of COPD, the death rate from COPD is eight times higher than the death rate from asthma.

COPD is an umbrella term for chronic lung disorders, including bronchitis and emphysema. It is a progressive, disabling condition caused by a narrowing of the airways.

The study found that the number of cases of COPD increased by 44 percent between 1990 and 2015, while the number of deaths increased by more than 11 percent, from 2.8 million deaths in 1990 to 3.2 million in 2015.

The researchers said that many cases of both conditions continued to be left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or under-treated, even though both conditions could often be treated or prevented with affordable interventions.

The researchers said the main risk factors for COPD were smoking and air pollution, followed by household air pollution, occupational risk (such as asbestos and diesel fumes), ozone and second-hand smoke.

They said there needed to be more public health interventions to reduce air pollution and further reduce global smoking rates.

Meanwhile, the study said that while the causes of asthma were less clear, they included smoking and asthma-causing allergens experienced in the workplace.

The researchers called for more studies into both conditions and said that both needed clearer definitions.

The full story is at: http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=25882.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, People, Science

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