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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: all things inhaled and more

Jane Scullion looks at the latest evidence linked to prescribing for COPD patients

The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is well documented along with the impact at the societal and personal level.1,2 It is caused by noxious substances and /or gases entering the lungs. This leads to abnormalities in the small airways of the lungs limiting airflow in and out of the lungs due to a combination of small airways disease (obstructive bronchiolitis) and destruction of the lung parenchyma (emphysema). This leads in turn to the well-recognised symptoms of COPD dyspnoea, cough, regular sputum production and wheeze, although these vary between individuals.1 These symptoms are chronic and progressive so early intervention is important and guidelines remind us that COPD is both preventable and treatable.1

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