COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a chronic disease caused by cigarette smoke & by air pollution
COPD is a respiratory pathology characterized by a persistent airflow limitation and it's strongly recomended to perform a mass screening with spirometry to start treatment as soon as possible and prevent the aggravation. COPD diagnosis is made by instrumental exams, Spirometry (a test that measures the residual respiratory capacity just breathing in a "tube"). Symptoms often are not recognised by the patients and so they are reffered to the physician too late. The habit to smoke (or professional/natural exposure to pollution), with the presence of cough, sputum and dispnea, allow to diagnose COPD.
Exacerbations are acute episodes that make the pathology worse. They can have a bacterial origin or not.
Related to the severity of pathology, it's possible to distinguish 4 cases depending on the value of FEV1 (Forced espiratory volume in the first second)
- COPD mild (or grade 1): FEV1 <80% of the theoric value
- COPD Moderate (or grade II): FEV1 between 50% and 80%
- COPD Severe (or grade III): FEV1 between 30% and 50%
- COPD Very severe (or grade IV): FEV1 <30%
In the last version of COPD guidelines, patients are classified on the basis both FEV1 and exacerbation rate