Do we know the cause of asthma and COPD

Prof Dr Michael Roth (PhD), Research Group Leader Pulmonary Cell Research at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland explains the extent to which asthma and COPD (smoker’s lung) are the most prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases of the lung, globally

Amongst the many insights given here by Prof Dr Michael Roth (PhD) at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland says that new epidemiologic studies suggest that in Europe and America, the increase of asthma and COPD is slowing down, while it is rapidly increasing in Asian countries.

We find out that the global initiative for asthma (GINA 2017) defines asthma, a disease of the airways which limits breathing, as follows: “Asthma is a heterogeneous disease usually characterised by chronic airway inflammation. It is defined by the history of respiratory symptoms such as wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough that vary over time and intensity together with variable expiratory airflow limitation”.

Detailed here, are the different types of asthma, such as allergic asthma, seasonal asthma and occupational asthma. We also learn that non-allergic asthma accounts for around 40% of all patients and can be caused by inhaling cold/hot air, psychologic stress, or exercising.

Probing further into the subject, we are told that cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Europe and America, something that develops in 20% of all smokers. In addition, we discover that in other areas of the world, open fire cooking and heating are the major causes of COPD, often combined with cigarette smoking.

In a bonus article, Isabel Proaño Gómez, Communications Manager at European Federation of Allergies and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) explores the issue of severe asthma and how our understanding of it is evolving.

I hope that you enjoy reading this special in-depth analysis about the causes of asthma and the many insights it offers on the state of play when it comes to research in the field.


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