Clinical update

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

As costs of respiratory illnesses continue to rise, a recent report has criticised the lack of progress in tackling lung disease and COPD

Essential facts

An estimated three million people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the UK, but less than a third are diagnosed. COPD refers to a group of lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because the airways have narrowed.

Two of these lung conditions are persistent bronchitis, when the airways are inflamed and narrowed; and emphysema, which causes the air sacs at the end of the airways to break down. These conditions can also happen together.

What’s new?

COPD costs the UK £1.9 billion a year, according to a report from the British Lung Foundation. The total costs of all respiratory illnesses were found to be £11 billion a year: £9.9 billion on the NHS and patients