Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the beginning of the XXI Century

Alvar Agusti, Jing Zhang


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major health problem because its high prevalence (about 10% of the adult population, e.g., 13.7% in population over 40-year old in China (1), rising incidence, associated morbidity and mortality and personal, familiar, social and economic associated costs (2). Traditionally, COPD has been considered a disease of old men self-inflicted by tobacco smoking. Yet, recent research evidence (3,4) challenges this traditional paradigm. This Editorial briefly reviews some of these challenges and proposes a novel understanding of COPD at the beginning of the XXI Century.