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Chiesi has been developing medicines to treat respiratory disease for more than 30 years. Thanks to modern treatments, patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a better chance to live more active lives.

 

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease involving extreme hypersensitivity of the airways. The most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest - usually intermittent, and unpredictable in duration and severity.

 

In the UK currently, c.5.4 million people are treated for asthma, costing the NHS around £1 billion a year.1

 

Apart from a genetic predisposition, asthma can have a wide variety of causes that can result in swelling of the mucous membranes, narrowing of the airways and increased mucus production.

 

Although the exact causes are unknown, asthma often occurs with other allergic conditions such as eczema and hay fever. Asthma attacks can be triggered for example, by pollen, dust, feathers, furry animals, exercise, viral infections, stress, chemicals and tobacco smoke.

 

Most people's asthma can usually be controlled by using medication which can help relieve symptoms or help prevent future symptoms and attacks.

 

COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the collective term for conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which prevent people from breathing properly because the flow of air into the lungs is obstructed.

 

In the UK alone, it is likely over a million people live with COPD and it claims more than 25,000 lives a year.2 The main cause is smoking, but it can also be caused by past exposure to fumes, chemicals and dust at work.

 

COPD is incurable because it causes permanent lung damage, but treatment and medication can help make breathing easier.

 

References

  1. http://www.Asthma.org.uk/Asthma-facts-and-statistics [Accessed November 2016]
  2. http://www.hse.gov.uk/Statistics/causdis/copd/copd.pdf [Accessed November 2016]