Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology

Living Edition
| Editors: Stefan Offermanns, Walter Rosenthal

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • Stefan UhligEmail author
  • Christian Martin
  • Michael Dreher
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21573-6_250-1



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects over 5% of the adult population, is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, and is the only major cause of mortality that is increasing worldwide. It is a complex and heterogeneous inflammatory disorder of the lungs, caused mainly, but not exclusively, by cigarette smoking. Fifteen to twenty percent of smokers develop COPD.

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD; (http://www.goldcopd.com) has defined COPD as follows: “COPD is a common, preventable, and treatable disease that is characterized by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation that is due to airway and/or alveolar abnormalities usually caused by significant exposure to noxious particles or gases. The chronic airflow limitation that characterizes COPD is caused by a mixture of small airways disease (e.g., obstructive bronchiolitis) and parenchymal destruction (emphysema),...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Uhlig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christian Martin
    • 1
  • Michael Dreher
    • 2
  1. 1.Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity Hospital Aachen, RWTH AachenAachenGermany
  2. 2.Pneumology and Intensive Care MedicineUniversity Hospital Aachen, RWTH AachenAachenGermany