A report by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) has set new standards for the diagnosis, management and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Updates include new staging guidelines for deciding the severity of COPD and recommendations for coordinating healthcare teams.
Lead author Dr Klaus Rabe said the report was "an absolutely up-to-date summary of all the available evidence on the diagnosis, management and prevention of COPD".
He continued: "One of the most important points is that we now say COPD is preventable and treatable. There are steps we can take to prevent it, and it is no longer viewed with therapeutic nihilism."
Researchers found that active and passive smoking are the most common risk factors for COPD in the developed world, whereas in developing countries, COPD arises primarily from long-term exposure to smoke from biomass fuel used for indoor cooking and heating.
They wrote: "The prevalence and burden of COPD are projected to increase in the coming decades due to continued exposure to COPD risk factors and the changing age structure of the world's population."