Continuing Medical Education

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in South Africa: Under-recognised and undertreated

B Allwood, R N van Zyl-Smit


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a
common, preventable but incurable condition currently
ranked third in global mortality estimates. Worldwide,
65 million people are estimated to have moderate to severe
COPD, and the disease accounts for 3 million deaths
annually, of which 90% are said to occur in low- and middle-income
countries. Yet, despite these staggering numbers, COPD remains both
under-recognised and undertreated in most populations, also in South
Africa (SA). There are many reasons for this, not least of which is
the attitude of clinicians, which can often be fatalistic with regard to
COPD. This edition of CME highlights key aspects of the diagnosis
and treatment – pharmacological and non-pharmacological –
and new developments in the management of severe disease.
Furthermore, we have included articles focusing on non-smokingrelated
COPD and tips for good spirometry.

Authors' affiliations

B Allwood, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

R N van Zyl-Smit, UCT Lung Institute, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(9):785. DOI:10.7196/SAMJnew.8429

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-09-15
Date published: 2015-09-15

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