World COPD Day: ‘All Together to End COPD’

World COPD Day: ‘All Together to End COPD’

by Dr. Kaushik Bharati on Nov 20 2019 5:47 PM
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  • World COPD Day will be celebrated on Wednesday 20th November 2019
  • Globally, COPD is observed on every third Wednesday of November
  • It aims to raise awareness about the dangers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Also, stresses on prevention and treatment to reduce the global burden of COPD
World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day is celebrated on the third Wednesday of November every year. Hence, this year (2019), it will be celebrated on 20th November. The day aims to create awareness about the dangers of COPD and highlight the importance of prevention and treatment strategies for reducing the global burden of this chronic lung disease.
This is a truly global celebration that is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), in collaboration with doctors, public health experts, educationists, international COPD patient organizations, and representatives from civil society. GOLD is a member of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), which is composed of the world’s leading respiratory societies that collectively work to improve lung health across the globe.


Theme for World COPD Day 2019

World COPD Day was established in 2002. Over 50 countries worldwide participate in the celebrations, which is the world’s largest and most important event on COPD. Every year, GOLD chooses a particular theme to mark the event. This year’s theme is ‘All Together to End COPD, which highlights the importance of working together collectively to put an end to COPD.


Objectives of World COPD Day

The major objectives of World COPD Day are briefly stated below:
  • Raise awareness about COPD worldwide
  • Reduce the disease burden and associated mortality
  • Improve the standard of care for COPD patients
  • Attract the attention of policymakers to frame health policies benefiting COPD patients
  • Encourage public health professionals to develop programs for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of COPD


COPD: Facts & Figures

  • COPD is the 4th leading cause of death worldwide
  • COPD will become the 3rd leading cause of death by 2030
  • COPD impacts 251 million people worldwide
  • 64 million COPD patients currently exist worldwide
  • 3.17 million people die (5% of all global deaths) from COPD annually
  • 75 percent of COPD cases are caused by smoking
  • 90 percent of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)

COPD and its Complications

COPD is a chronic, progressive, life-threatening lung disease characterized by breathlessness, wheezing (whistling sound while breathing), chest tightness, and chronic cough with mucus in smokers (smoker’s cough).

Living with COPD can become progressively challenging, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. COPD cannot be cured, but appropriate and timely treatment can relieve symptoms, improve the quality of life and significantly reduce the risk of death.

The major risk factors for COPD include the following:
  • Smoking – both active and passive
  • Air pollution – both indoor and outdoor
  • Electronic cigarettes emitting vapors inhaled or exhaled through ‘vaping’
  • Long-term asthma and asthmatic patients who smoke
  • Occupational exposure to dust particles and chemical fumes
  • Family history of α-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Aging – symptoms usually occur above 40 years
The major complications of COPD include the following:

Ways to Celebrate World COPD Day

World COPD Day can be celebrated in many ways, some of which are highlighted below:
  • Free Spirometry testing helps assess the condition of the lungs
  • Sharing real life stories could encourage people to reduce the disease burden and associated mortality
  • Forging partnerships and networks between various stakeholders could promote increased awareness of COPD
  • Sporting events such a walks, runs, swimming, cycling, and friendly soccer or cricket matches could be organized to raise funds through fun activities
  • Musical performances could be organized, involving celebrity musicians with COPD specializing in woodwind and brass instruments. This will highlight the importance of good lung function for playing these instruments

Latest Research on COPD

A new research tool nicknamed ‘CAPTURE’ has been developed by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA. This is essentially a breathing test coupled with a simple questionnaire that helps doctors detect individuals at risk of developing COPD prior to the manifestation of the symptoms.

Besides the above innovation, the NIH is also carrying out the COPD Gene Study, which is investigating why some smokers develop COPD, while others don’t.

The NIH has also conducted the following three major clinical trials that have shed new light in the area of COPD:
  • The Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial
  • The Lung Health Study
  • The National Emphysema Treatment Trial
NIH scientists are also investigating the efficacy of pneumococcal vaccines, the antibiotic azithromycin, and statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) in reducing the severity of the symptoms in patients suffering from COPD.

Health Tips for Preventing COPD

The following health tips will help to prevent the occurrence or delay the onset of COPD:


As cigarette smoking is the single most serious risk factor for the development of COPD, countries across the world are urged to adopt the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) and implement the MPOWER Tobacco Control Strategy so that non-smoking eventually becomes the global norm. This will contribute significantly towards the reduction of the global burden of COPD.

  1. World COPD Day - (
  2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - (
  3. World COPD Day - (
  4. COPD Factsheet - (


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