Emerging concepts and therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although considerable advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of COPD, much remains to be done both to alleviate symptoms and reduce mortality associated with this condition. Previously, diagnosis, management, and research all centred on staging based on the forced expiratory flow in 1 second. It is now becoming apparent that this is inadequate to truly capture current disease burden and future deterioration. Fortunately, new approaches to care are constantly being identified. It is now known that symptoms and, in particular, exacerbations represent pivotal events in the patient's life that should trigger optimization of care. Much work is currently underway to identify various phenotypes in COPD because it has become obvious that this is a heterogeneous disease and applying the same management algorithms for all patients is insufficient. Several new medications are at various stages of development, some being approved and on the market, while others are undergoing clinical trials. These allow for more options for individualized care of patients. In addition, new applications of old medications, such as long‑term antibiotics, also provide new options for patients struggling with recurrent symptoms. Finally, the growing awareness that this is a heterogeneous disease composed not only of differing phenotypes but also having significant extrapulmonary comorbidities have opened new avenues of research and interdisciplinary collaboration that will further enable us to offer personalized care to patients.
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