COPDF President John Walsh Presents at COPD Symposium in Beijing, China

October 04, 2011

COPD Foundation President and Co-Founder, John W. Walsh, was able to bring the discussion of COPD to the global scale this past September, when he was invited to give a presentation at the international COPD Symposium held in Beijing by the Chinese government, China. His talk focused on “COPD Patients: Hope, Fears and Expectations.”

The purpose of the meeting was to share information and discuss topics related to COPD, Globally and in China, including: the burden of illness in COPD patients, COPD management, and the future of COPD therapy.

Worldwide, COPD affects 210 million people, and accounts for one million deaths and five million disabilities a year. By the year 2020, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death worldwide. Currently, it’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

In the talk that Walsh gave, he reported the following facts:

•    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COPD ranks first among burdens of disease in China
•    The overall prevalence of people diagnosed with COPD in China is between 5 and 10 percent
•    In 2009, the annual direct medical cost of a COPD patient in an urban area was $1,836 USD (11,744 Yuan)
•    Considering there are 1.3 billion people in China, the prevalence rate of diagnosed COPD is between 5 and 10 percent, the estimated annual direct medial cost  could be as much as $119 billion USD (759,323,173,073.5 Yuan)
•    Although China has the highest percentage ofsmokers of any coultry in the world and is the largest manufacturer of tobacco products, exposure to biomass fuel exposure and other environmental exposures is also a major cause of COPD.

These are all staggering numbers that Walsh presented to world class experts from the U.S., Europe and China. Despite these numbers, there are ways individuals with COPD can improve their quality of life, according to Walsh.

Becoming educated about COPD, and understanding its symptoms and causes helps tremendously. Having open communication with family, friends, caregivers and your doctor is also important. Talking to your doctor about medicines and treatments is also pertinent; no question should ever remain un-asked when it comes to your COPD and care. Talking to your doctor about pulmonary rehabilitation can be useful; they can give you your options when it comes to exercise. And as always, increased COPD awareness can help you better treat your COPD.

Walsh told his audience that with more public awareness and understanding, early detection of COPD will become more and more possible. He said end goals are new, more effective therapies, the ability to inform, educate, empower and engage patients, and ultimately, find a cure for COPD.