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Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Professor Roland Buhl discusses the updated definitions, diagnosis and treatment of asthma and COPD.
Asthma and COPD are a huge burden on patients, doctors and the healthcare system. Although they look similar, they have different diagnostic criteria and require specific management strategies. Prof Buhl illustrates several issues with current diagnostic criteria for both asthma and COPD where the criteria do not adequately reflect the current clinical situation. Effective treatment is dependent upon an accurate diagnosis, as shown by the monoclonal antibodies to treat specific inflammatory subtypes such as eosinophilic asthma. With COPD, we are starting to understand different phenotypes, which are helping to guide treatment decisions. But we still need to develop multi-dimensional indices to better reflect and monitor patients with COPD. Progress in asthma and COPD definition, diagnosis and treatment is being made, however more work is needed to better define and understand these diseases, to develop more effective treatments and to follow up and monitor patients.