COPD is the second most common lung disease after asthma. Like asthma, it is an obstructive lung disease, but unlike asthma, it is not (or less) reversible.
COPD is in the majority of cases caused by tobacco smoking: about 95% of all COPD cases are caused by smoking.
Some numbers about COPD:
- The number of COPD patients is still rising worldwide.
- An estimated 4 to 10% of Europeans have COPD.
- In the UK there are approximately 835,000 known COPD patients, but the actual number is probably around 1.2 millions COPD patients.
- The US has more than 16 million known COPD patients, but the it is estimated that because of a large number of undiagnosed patients the actual number of patients is likely to be 24 million.
- In 2019, COPD was responsible for 3.23 million deaths worldwide, making it the third deadliest disease after heart attacks and strokes
- COPD is a very expensive disease for society: one study estimated the total cost for COPD in the US in 2010 to be 36 billion USD. Estimates for 2020 amounted to 49 billion USD.
- The annual cost of COPD for healthcare and lost productivity in the EU were estimated to be nearly 50 billion euros in 2011.