2001 Original: Workshop Report, Global Strategy for Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a major public health problem. It is the fourth leading cause of chronic morbidity and mortality in the United States1 and is projected to rank fifth in 2020 as a worldwide burden of disease according to a study published by the World Bank/World Health Organization2. Yet, COPD fails to receive adequate attention from the health care community and government officials. With these concerns in mind, a committed group of scientists encouraged the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the World Health Organization to form the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Among GOLD’s important objectives are to increase awareness of COPD and to help the thousands of people who suffer from this disease and die prematurely from COPD or its complications.
The first step in the GOLD program was to prepare a consensus Workshop Report, Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD. The GOLD Expert Panel, a distinguished group of health professionals from the fields of respiratory medicine, epidemiology, socioeconomics, public health, and health education, reviewed existing COPD guidelines, as well as new information on pathogenic mechanisms of COPD as they developed a consensus document. Many recommendations will require additional study and evaluation as the GOLD program is implemented.
A major problem is the incomplete information about the causes and prevalence of COPD, especially in developing countries. While cigarette smoking is a major known risk factor, much remains to be learned about other causes of this disease. The GOLD Initiative will bring COPD to the attention of governments, public health officials, health care workers, and the general public, but a concerted effort by all involved in health care will be necessary to control this major public health problem.
I would like to acknowledge the dedicated individuals who prepared the Workshop Report and the effective leadership of the Workshop Chair, Professor Romain Pauwels. It is a privilege for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to serve as one of the cosponsors. We look forward to working with the World Health Organization, and all other interested organizations and individuals, to meet the goals of the GOLD Initiative.
Development of the Workshop Report was supported through educational grants to the Department of Respiratory Diseases of the Ghent University Hospital, Belgium (WHO Collaborating Center for the Management of Asthma and COPD) from ASTA Medica, AstraZeneca, Aventis, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Byk Gulden, Chiesi, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Mitsubishi-Tokyo, Nikken Chemicals, Novartis, Schering- Plough, Yamanouchi, and Zambon.
Claude Lenfant, MD
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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