Latest global estimates illustrate the vast impact of the two most common chronic respiratory diseases, with 3.2 million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 0.4 million deaths caused by asthma in 2015, according to a new Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.
COPD is a group of lung conditions (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) that cause breathing difficulties. The condition is largely caused by smoking and air pollution leading to call for public health interventions. The study finds that asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease worldwide, with twice the number of cases of COPD in 2015, but that deaths from COPD were eight times more common than deaths from asthma. Many cases of asthma and COPD can be treated or prevented with affordable interventions, but people are often left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or undertreated.
As a result of the larger number of cases, there were more people living with disability – with the countries with the highest burden of disability from COPD and asthma typically residing in developing regions.