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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects about 4% of Canadian Adults and is a major health and economic concern. In 1999 COPD was the fourth leading cause of death in men, and the fifth in women. It is predicted that morbidity and mortality from COPD will escalate over the next 15 years, particularly in the aging female population.

New guidelines for the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease have been published in the Canadian Respiratory Journal in May of 2003. These guidelines were developed through the Canadian Thoracic Society with the assistance of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Physiotherapy Cardio-Pulmonary Society, the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian COPD Alliance, the Canadian Respiratory Nurses Society and the Respiratory Therapy Society of Canada. The guidelines reflect the evolutions in management of COPD over recent years, and express several Key messages, which are available here, and in a three page executive summary published at the same time as the summary article (Can Respir J Vol 10 No 4 May/June 2003.) Some of these key messages may not seem fully appropriate to the areas in which some physicians practice, but the acceptance and application of as many as possible in each clinical practice situation will improve the quality of life of COPD patients.

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