According to WHO estimates (2004), 64 million people had COPD and 3 million people died from COPD in 2005, accounting for 5% of all deaths globally. The WHO predicts that the total deaths from COPD will increase by 30% over the next 10 years and that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, after heart disease and stroke.1,2

It has been postulated that the increasing mortality of COPD is driven by the continued high use of tobacco in many countries and the changing age structure of populations in developing countries.3

COPD morbidity and mortality vary across countries, but in general are related to the prevalence of tobacco smoking.3 However in many developing countries, air pollution arising from the burning of biomass fuel or wood stoves has also been identified as a leading cause of COPD. The prevalence of COPD among lower-income populations was highlighted by the statistic that almost 90% of the COPD deaths reported in 2005 came from countries of low- to mid-income.1


  1. World Health Organization. COPD. Fact Sheet No. 315. 2012.  
  2. Halbert RJ, Natoli JL, Gano A, et al. Global burden of COPD: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Respir J 2006;28:523-32.
  3. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD): Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD. 2013.

Diagnosing COPD

Learn more about the symptoms of COPD and how the disease is diagnosed.Go

Contact us

Need more information? Contact

Find this page interesting?

Maybe a colleague will too? Share page


The information contained in this site is for healthcare professionals only. Click ok if you are a healthcare professional.