Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is globally one of the major non-communicable diseases (NCDs). COPD is also among the NCDs that are increasing worldwide, with the poorest and most vulnerable communities most affected. For decades, tobacco smoke (including second-hand smoke or passive exposure) has traditionally been seen as the primary cause of COPD. In Africa and other low-income settings, biomass exposure is probably the most important risk factor for COPD. In Western communities, where COPD is mainly due to tobacco smoking, the disease becomes clinically apparent particularly in the fourth and fifth decade of life because the pathological events that lead to COPD develop slowly over a long period of time. It is plausible that where biomass smoke exposure starts early in life, even prenatally, that COPD can develop much earlier. The prevalence of COPD in people younger than 40 years is not known because most surveys have included people 40 years or older. The FRESH AIR survey included people above the age of 30 years. Results show that the prevalence of COPD among adults aged 30-39 years was 39% (38% in men and 40% in women). COPD surveys among young people in sub-Saharan Africa are urgently needed. Education programmes to raise awareness and knowledge of the risk of COPD in general, and early-life COPD in particular, are needed.
|Tijdschrift||African journal of respiratory medicine|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||2|
|Status||Published - mrt-2016|