Indexed on: 24 Oct '03Published on: 24 Oct '03Published in: Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacts a heavy toll on society, yet its prevention, diagnosis and treatment receives inadequate attention from both the medical community and from society at large. Guidelines released in 2001 from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) are aimed at redressing this inequity. In this review, we integrate information from the GOLD guidelines with recent updates on the prevention, treatment and management as related specifically to the most severe form of this disease. In order to help distinguish COPD from other disorders that may mimic or confound its treatment, we place particular emphasis on the definition, underlying pathophysiology and diagnosis of COPD. In addition, we discuss future directions in pharmacotherapy.