Mainstay of the Global Workforce - 40-65 Year Olds - Hit Hardest by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 General News
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LONDON, November 18

- New Report Highlights Global Economic Burden of the Disease

- An Estimated Two Billion Work Hours Lost Each Week

COPD Uncovered, a new report issued today reveals for the first time thatpeople between the ages of 40 to 65 are emerging as the new face of thisdisease. Authored by Education for Health and other leading experts, thereport uncovers a new, younger majority of COPD patients(1) who are in theprime of their career, and financially responsible for the care of theirchildren and aging parents. The authors call for policymakers to read thereport and challenge their thinking on how COPD should be addressed in thiscritical age group who are highly depended upon by society as leading wageearners(2,3).

COPD affects 210 million people and is predicted to be the third leadingcause of death globally in ten years time(4). A severely debilitatingdisease, COPD dramatically impairs the productivity of this population. Infact, the report found that people between 40 and 65 with COPD miss as manyas ten hours of work per week because of their condition(5). On a globalscale, that represents more than two billion working hours lost each weekworldwide. Additionally, COPD causes nearly 28,000 years of lost productivityannually(6). The report deduces that if left unchecked, COPD could havesignificant global workforce and economic implications on patients, families,employers and society as the disease escalates.

"Given the potential economic impact, it is critical that 40 to 65 yearolds with COPD are able to lead an active and productive life," said MonicaFletcher, Chief Executive of Education for Health. "In releasing this reportwe want to spark an important global dialogue with key global stakeholders onhow best to invest in earlier diagnosis and the management of these youngerpatients."

About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a debilitating,life-threatening and progressive lung disease that interferes with normalbreathing(8). It is thought to cause around three million deaths per year -on average one person every 10 seconds(4). COPD refers to emphysema andchronic bronchitis - two commonly co-existing diseases of the lung. Due tolung deterioration, people with COPD experience symptoms like chronicshortness of breath and cough that impact the ability to lead an active andproductive life(8). There is no cure for COPD but it can be treated.

About COPD Uncovered

COPD Uncovered represents the combined efforts of a multi-disciplinarycommittee of international experts, coming together to bring forward some ofthe most burning issues in COPD today. Their aim is to highlight the impactof COPD in an understudied and ignored patient segment between the ages of 40and 65.

The COPD Uncovered initiative is a compendium of research and analysisundertaken by experts in respiratory health. This initiative is sponsored byNovartis Pharma AG and is administered by a Secretariat from Chandler ChiccoCompanies (CCC). The studies underlying the COPD Uncovered Report werecommissioned by Novartis Pharma AG.

Following the release of this report, the COPD Uncovered experts areconducting further quantitative research into the direct and indirect costsof the disease among this age group. In 2010, they expect to release theresults of the study that will look at the specific impact of COPD on thedaily lives of more than 2,000 COPD patients aged 45-67 from the U.S., theUK, Germany, Brazil, China and Turkey.

About the Authors

The COPD Uncovered Report, issued on World COPD Day 2009, is authored bythe following individuals, supported by Novartis with editorial assistancefrom medical education specialists from CCC:Other key insights from the report include: - COPD costs more than asthma and diabetes - The cost of COPD exceeds that of many other serious, long-term conditions including asthma and diabetes(7). The worldwide burden of COPD is nearly double that of diabetes and it causes more deaths(6). - Effective COPD treatment must look beyond smoking cessation - It is true that the primary cause of COPD is cigarette smoke(8) and smoking cessation is an important part of COPD management. Yet many former smokers develop symptoms and are diagnosed a decade or two after they stopped. In fact, even if all smoking stopped today, the effect on COPD statistics would not be seen for up to 20 years(9). - COPD puts pressure on healthcare systems - One in six European and U.S. patients had visited the ER or hospital in a six month period 2006-20075. Extrapolating these figures indicates that up to 64 million COPD patients globally may be admitted to hospital due to their condition each year. Additionally, a large majority of COPD patients suffer from co-morbidities, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes(10-13). In fact, 40 percent suffer from heart disease10 and as many as 42 percent from high blood pressure(12,13). - Families may also face burden - More women than men are now being be diagnosed with COPD(14) - a patient segment central to family care.

SOURCE Education for Health

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