World COPD Day 2022: History, Significance and Theme

World COPD Day is annually observed on every third Wednesday of November which means this year it falls on 16th November. This day raises awareness about the COPD disease which is a type of lung disease. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (C.O.P.D.) is a type of preventable and treatable progressive lung disease that is characterized by long-term respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation. Its main symptoms include shortness of breath and a cough, and possible chronic sputum production. 

It is a very serious disease and although is incurable, can be prevented and treated. But despite its seriousness it is seen that most people are still unfamiliar about the disease and ways to deal with it and that’s why as a way of awareness this day is observed. 

Event World COPD Day
Date November 16, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day raises awareness about the COPD disease
Observed by World wide


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World COPD Day History: 

Throughout history, physicians have used different terms to describe what was likely C.O.P.D. In 1679, Swiss physician Théophile Bonet referred to it as “voluminous lungs,” and in 1769, Italian anatomist Giovanni Morgagni reported 19 cases of “turgid” lungs. In 1814, chronic bronchitis was first identified as a disabling health condition and part of C.O.P.D. by British physician Charles Badham. He was the first person to use the term ‘catarrh’ to describe the ongoing cough and excessive mucus that C.O.P.D. produces. In 1821, physician René Laënnec, the inventor of the stethoscope, recognized emphysema as another component of C.O.P.D. In 1846, John Hutchinson invented the spirometer, which measures vital lung capacity and is still an essential tool in diagnosing C.O.P.D. today. 

Air pollution and the increase in cigarette smoking in Great Britain at the start of the 20th century led to high rates of chronic lung disease, though it received little attention until the Great Smog of London in December 1952. This spurred epidemiological research in the United Kingdom, Holland and elsewhere. In 1953, Dr. George L. Waldbott, an American allergist, first described a new disease he named smoker’s respiratory syndrome in the 1953 Journal of the American Medical Association. This was the first association between tobacco smoking and chronic respiratory disease. 


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The first person thought to use the term “chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder” was Dr. William Briscoe at the 9th Aspen Emphysema Conference in June 1965. In 1976, Charles Fletcher, a physician, linked smoking to C.O.P.D. in his book “The Natural History of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.” He and his colleagues discovered that stopping smoking could help to slow the progress of C.O.P.D. The concept of pulmonary rehabilitation and home care was also introduced at the ninth Aspen Emphysema Conference. Today, long-term oxygen therapy through these means is the only treatment known to alter the course of C.O.P.D. 

Modern treatments were developed during the second half of the 20th century. Evidence supporting the use of steroids in COPD was published in the late 1950s. Bronchodilators came into use in the 1960s following a promising trial of isoprenaline. Further bronchodilators, such as short-acting salbutamol, were developed in the 1970s and the use of long-acting bronchodilators began in the mid-1990s. The 1990s saw a rise in the use of medication to manage C.O.P.D. symptoms and restore pulmonary function. The promotion of C.O.P.D. education meant quitting smoking and clean air awareness became the primary focus of self-care treatment. 


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World COPD Day Significance: 

COPD refers to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a common respiratory condition that develops in men and women of all age groups worldwide. COPD is an umbrella term that encompasses a host of progressive lung disorders, primarily emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that obstruct the air sacs and bronchial tubes within the lungs, leading to breathing distress and lung damage. COPD usually lasts for several years or in some cases, can even be a life-long sickness. Not only does COPD directly injure the lungs, but it also makes the affected individuals more susceptible to respiratory infections, heart disease and chest pain/angina. 

There can be many causes of getting COPD disease but some of the major one includes tobacco smoking, constant exposure to second-hand smoke, direct inhalation of toxic chemicals, fumes and dust in an occupational setting, acquiring asthma early on in childhood, developing a rare genetic malady known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which induces COPD in young people, continuous exposure to air pollution, dust, particulate matter or living in homes with inadequate ventilation and inhaling fumes from the burning of coal and fuel for cooking and heating purposes. 

COPD is an inflammatory lung condition that exhibits symptoms similar to asthma and some people suffer from both illnesses. Some of the major symptoms of COPD includes cough with the release of phlegm, difficulty in breathing, wheezing uneasiness and tight clenching sensation in the chest,  accumulation of mucus in the lungs and nasal passages, excessive fatigue and loss of weight. So most of the symptoms does not exhibit much difficulty at start but it gets worse if it continuously gets untreated.

Although there is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the sickness can be effectively managed with proper treatment. The remedial measures comprise: Bronchodilators in which medications needs to be inhaled which remove the obstacles in the airways, open up the lungs and facilitate easy breathing. Steroids are also given to lower inflammation. Patients are also advised to modify their lifestyle as a treatment which includes stopping tobacco smoking, adhering to a healthy nutrient-rich diet, regular physical exercise for 30 minutes daily, diaphragmatic breathing practices involving deep inhalation and exhalation. 


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World COPD Day Theme: 

The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. Each year organizers in more than 50 countries have carried out activities, making the day one of the world’s most important COPD awareness and education events. World COPD Day theme for 2022 is “Your Lungs for Life”. 

This year’s theme aims to highlight the importance of lifelong lung health. You are born with only one set of lungs.  From development to adulthood, keeping lungs healthy is an integral part of future health and well-being. 

This campaign will focus on contributing factors to COPD from birth to adulthood and what we can do to promote lifelong lung health as well as protect vulnerable populations. 

Most Searched FAQs on World COPD Day: 

1. When is World COPD Day observed? 

World COPD Day is annually observed on every third Wednesday of November. 

2. Are C.O.P.D. and asthma the same thing? 

No, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma are different diseases, although they both affect the lungs and make it hard to breathe. 

3. What is the theme of World COPD Day 2022? 

The theme of World COPD Day 2022 is “Your Lungs for Life”. 

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