As our knowledge on the natural history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progresses, a conceptual model simply based on an accelerated decline of lung function in adult life in response to smoking has become inadequate to capture the complexity of this disease, and increasing attention is being given to possible contributions from events or alterations of developmental processes that take place earlier in life. In addition, a remarkable heterogeneity has emerged among the pathobiological mechanisms that are involved in different phenotypes of COPD, suggesting that an effective disease management will require individualized treatment approaches largely based on the underlying biological mechanisms (endotypes). In this review, we will discuss the many faces of COPD from an epidemiological, pathobiological, and clinical standpoint and argue that airflow limitation encompasses a number of manifestations that are too diverse to be still clustered under the same diagnostic label.
- Airway disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas