The first signs of COPD to timely detect: pulmonary disease often remains undiscovered for too long

Dangerous lung disease: High mortality in COPD

More and more people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, in many cases, the disease, which is also popularly known as smoker’s cough known to remain undetected and not diagnosed. So it is not surprising that the mortality rate rises further and further.

Up to five million Germans suffer from COPD

According to the German respiratory League of the three to five million people in Germany alone, COPD (“chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”). However, often the disease remains undetected and not diagnosed. This can be dangerous: according to health experts, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is also popularly known as smoker’s cough or smoker’s lung is known to cause, worldwide, the third leading cause of death.

Symptoms such as chronic cough may indicate COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unfortunately, remains often unrecognized. The disease is worldwide the third most common cause of death. (Image: Ljupco Smokovski/

Permanent narrowing of the bronchi

The COPD is a chronic inflammation of the lower respiratory tract. This ongoing inflammatory response causes changes and remodeling processes, which lead to a permanent narrowing of the bronchi.

Chronic symptoms such as cough, sputum and shortness of breath are possible.

Advanced stages are often associated with pulmonary emphysema, affected patients need often a chronic supply of oxygen.

Lack of awareness has fatal consequences

In spite of the possible deadly consequences many people do not or only little to the disease of interest.

This shows a study of the public interest in COPD by means of the application of Google Trends by a Doctors Team medicine, University of Innsbruck.

As the experts report in the journal “European Respiratory Journal”, ranked COPD in the comparison of the search queries among the top ten, according to the WHO-classification most common causes of death, ranked only 8.

The lack of awareness can have fatal consequences.

Mortality rate rises continuously

Although the prevalence and mortality rate of COPD is increasing worldwide steadily, the lung disease is often undetected and not diagnosed.

“COPD is anchored in the minds of the people far too little,” says Alex Pizzini, a specialist in the Innsbruck Univ.-Clinic for Internal medicine II (Director: Günter Weiss) in a message.

The doctors carried out by the insightful analysis, together with Anna Böhm and study leader Ivan Tancevski.

Searches for COPD investigated

The lack of awareness of the disease to quantify, has been examined by the pulmonology Team will use the analysis application to Google Trends the frequency of global queries to COPD in the period from 2004 to 2018.

Here, the relative search volume for COPD was compared with nine other of the world health organization (WHO), in annual statistics published a list of the world’s most common causes of death.

To not distort the analysis, limited the researchers in their Internet search on industrial Nations, i.e. countries, which account for around 80 per cent of the population use the Internet.

In the winter months, there is a bit more interest

“We were able to show,” said Pizzini, “the fact that medical topics generally have a lower search volume, but usually by Diabetes, stroke, and breast cancer is googled.”

And further: “COPD can be found only on the eighth place, due to seasonal Users of interest and users of the search engine Google in the first and fourth quarter of the year, so in the winter months, a bit more than usual for COPD”.

The disease is much rarer than people fall ill. In the course of time even in a stagnant search behavior since 2004 – a Trend that runs counter to the incidence rate.

Steadily deteriorating quality of life

COPD is a disease as a systemic inflammation with numerous accompanying and ever-deteriorating quality of life.

Even a small decrease in lung function increases the risk for a heart attack. According to the experts, the risk of developing heart failure is increased in COPD six times the risk of stroke is ten Times higher.

So-called exacerbations (acute worsening of the disease), which occur in the third and fourth Disease increasingly, and in severe cases, a recording in the intensive care unit is necessary to make, cause in ten percent of cases, death, the mortality risk remains for up to a year after that up to 40 percent increases.

Smoking is the primary risk factors

With a higher awareness and a timely diagnosis could, however, eliminated risk factors such as Smoking and exacerbations prevented, and accompanying and secondary diseases are treated accordingly.

Even non-smokers are partially affected, but the largest part of the cases, the main cause of Smoking.

Over 90 percent of all COPD patients who smoke or have smoked for a long time, – stated in the message.

Therefore, symptoms should be increased formation of mucus and chronic cough, especially for the Smoking reason enough to leave the respiratory tract and the lung to investigate.

“Against the Background of the lack of Disease awareness of the smoker’s cough is downplayed too often. Smoking, even Passive Smoking, however, in the first place, the risk factors for COPD,“ said study leader Ivan Tancevski. (ad)