n South African Family Practice - Management of the patient with chronic obstructive airway disease (COPD) in a primary health care context - review

Volume 61 Number 5
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204


Chronic obstructive airway disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease characterised by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible and is associated with abnormal inflammatory responses of the lung to noxious particles or gases. The global prevalence of COPD is between 7–19%, with variations in different regions of the world, and a predominance in men and people aged over 40 years.1 In Cape Town, South Africa, the prevalence of COPD is 22.2% for men and 16.7% for women.1 Mintz et al. have determined that 21% of patients aged 30 years or more with more than 10 years of smoking history seen in primary care settings are likely to have COPD.2 The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 reported a prevalence estimate of 8.9%3 and it is expected that it will be the 6th cause of death in the world with an increase in economic and social burden.

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