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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Europeans to Launch COPD Call to Action

Published June 25, 2010 7:49 AM by Vern Enge

While the 24 million Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are of major concern in U.S. health care circles, the patient population here pales in comparison to the 44 million Europeans with the same breathing problems.

To gain support for a unified plan to cut COPD mortality and morbidity across the pond, the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations (AFE) will launch a major initiative, "Pulmonary Disease: A European Problem with European Solutions" at a reception to be held in the Members Salon in the European Parliament Building in Brussels, Belgium, on June 30.

Chairing the event will be Member of European Parliament Catherine Stihler, of Scotland, an anti-smoking advocate and public health supporter. Also expected to attend is parliament member Dr. Miroslav Mikolasik, of the Slovak Republic, an expert in asthma management. Other guests will include: European Commission representatives; COPD patients; representatives of Smoke Free Partnership; and members of the European Respiratory Society, the Health and Environment Alliance, the European Lung Foundation, and the European Patient Forum.

Sponsors note the main cause of COPD in European nations as in the United States is cigarette smoke, but poor indoor air quality can lead to problems as well if pollutants like dust or fumes are present.

By its call to action, the EFA hopes to ensure that each European citizen has the best chance of being informed about the disease, diagnosed early, and effectively treated, say organization officials. The effort is made far more difficult because of the vast number of foreign languages involved, and painstaking plans must be made spread a uniform messages in Greek, French, Italian, Polish, English, and Flemish to name just a few.

Nonetheless, the call to action aims to create a common approach to addressing COPD throughout all the European nations.

As things stand, COPD is on track to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

Still, you have to look at those 44 million Europeans with COPD as a formidable number of people compared to the U.S. numbers, making the combined effort of so many European nations at one time especially important and laudable. 


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