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Postgrad Med. 2002 Jun;111(6):41-4, 49-50, 53 passim.

Early detection and management of COPD. What you can do to reduce the impact of this disabling disease.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, A. B. Chandler Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lexington, KY, USA.


Primary care physicians play a pivotal role in the early identification of patients with COPD. Early diagnosis, along with aggressive intervention, is the only way that the increasing morbidity and mortality of COPD can be reversed. Any patient with a history of smoking should undergo evaluation for the possibility of underlying COPD. At minimum, this requires in-office spirometry. Smoking cessation is the most important measure to prevent further deterioration of lung function. Rigorous application of a stepped-care treatment plan can help physicians identify undiagnosed COPD and improve overall quality of life for patients who have symptomatic COPD.

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