Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: epidemiology, social costs and
clinical framework

published in November - December 2018 - in Il Fisioterapista - issue n.6
Arnaldo Andreoli, Camilla Meneguzzo, Alessandro Robustelli

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation resulting in a narrowing of the small airways, lung parenchyma destruction, ciliary-mucus dysfunction and respiratory pattern alteration. COPD is one the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, determining a heavy and increasing economic and social burden. The main risk factors for COPD are cigarette smoking and exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants, including indoor pollution. The key symptom of COPD is chronic and progressive dyspnea that causes a significant reduction in the patient’s quality of life. To diagnose COPD, a spirometry is necessary, which can also rate the severity of the disease. Assessment scales to evaluate functional performance and quality of life are also useful.