Earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment of COPD in primary care

Prim Care Respir J. 2011 Mar;20(1):15-22. doi: 10.4104/pcrj.2010.00060.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that begins many years before a diagnosis is usually made. The need for an early and confirmed diagnosis of COPD is increasingly appreciated by primary care physicians in whose hands the ability to make improvements in early diagnosis largely rests. Case-finding of patients with symptoms of lifestyle limitation is probably the most practical way to achieve early diagnosis. Evidence suggests a burden of early COPD on afflicted people and their families. Early encouragement of smoking cessation, in conjunction with management of symptoms and treating activity limitation and exacerbations by appropriate non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic management at the earliest possible stage, could positively affect the impact and progression of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom


  • Bronchodilator Agents