Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the second most common non-infectious disease in the world. Prevalence rates worldwide are high particularly in low and middle income countries, with up to 64 million people affected.
COPD is predicted to be the third leading global cause of death by 2020, and is currently the sixth leading cause of death (three million per year). COPD is a prevalent problem in the Asia-Pacific region as there are still very high smoking rates, especially amongst males. Females however also have COPD because of their exposure to biomass fuel smoke. The total financial cost in 2008 of COPD was estimated to be $8.8bn: $6.8bn due to lower employment, absenteeism and premature death. Other important respiratory diseases globally include lung cancer, asthma and tuberculosis.