Objective: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious disease that is increasing in prevalence, yet is under-diagnosed and under-recognised in Australia. The goal is to bring this to the attention of public health and offer recommendations in order to reduce the present and future burden from COPD.
Approach: The increase in prevalence, particularly in women, and the impact upon personal and public health demonstrate that COPD is a major public health issue. A proactive approach for public health is suggested, including strategies to increase smoking cessation among at-risk groups, reduce delayed diagnosis, extend disease management strategies, and establish an Australian research base.
Conclusion: The reduction of the burden from COPD is contingent upon a proactive approach by public health that includes approaching it as a research priority and the provision of adequately resourced prevention and management strategies.