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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in never-smokers

Updated: Jan 11

This week I came across a paper in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in never-smokers: risk factors, pathogenesis, and implications for prevention and treatment - The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—commonly known as COPD—is the third leading cause of death worldwide.

Although tobacco smoking is established as a major risk factor, the importance of other causative factors such as occupational exposures and ambient particulate matter is increasingly recognized. The paper shows that the risk factor for COPD due to occupational exposures ranges from 13%-17% (15% globally) and that there is very little difference based on the sociodemographic index (SDI), that is the risk of COPD from occupational exposures in low SDI region is the same as a high SDI.

Figure: Global risk factors associated with COPD according to sociodemographic index (SDI).

In cars we have A/C with particulate filters, the majority of offices and some homes also have these filters to reduce exposure. For workplaces where there is mobile equipment with cabs or control rooms, we can prevent dust exposure in the workplace through the application of ISO Standard 23875 globally, one solution as a part of our system in preventing COPD in the workplace.


Reference: LinkedIn: The Lancet, 04/01/2023.

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