COPD usually involves severe emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which severely affect the alveoli of the lungs, leading to illness and death. Smoking is a leading cause of the disease. This illness is the fourth leading cause of mortality in the United States. In 2001, over 12 million Americans carried the diagnosis. In 2000, over 120,000 U.S. citizens died from COPD; in addition, for the first time, more women than men were victims.
The guidelines are fully searchable on the web and offer healthcare professionals, as well as patients, a unique, user-friendly and authorative source for information. The web address for the new site is http://www.
The international consensus guidelines featured on the site update the 1995 ATS COPD guidelines, and serve as the latest information on clinical treatment and diagnosis. The site contains update areas on diagnosis and management, including sections on staging, pharmacology, pulmonary rehabilitation, and surgery, plus a new section to help primary care physicians deal with the disease.
A section devoted to patient information provides practical background on the disease itself, its symptoms, signs, and medications, plus an understanding of basic lung function for the patient, and how the right treatment can lead to better health.
The site was created by a joint committee of the ATS and the ERS. They were developed by a group of clinicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and health educators involved in the field of COPD. The site is unique in that it contains input from patients who are suffering from the disease.