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As a result of this process, the GOLD guide was selected as the reference standard for our study, since we deemed it to be the most outstanding in its consensus, scientific rigor, international application and up-to-date management criteria.
Although the international GOLD guide includes four components, our research focused exclusively on component 3 which deals with aspects of stable COPD patient management, such as: patient education; pharmacological and non pharmacological treatment, including oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, breathing support and surgical alternatives.
Upon analyzing the GOLD guide recommendations for pharmacological and non pharmacological treatment of the stable COPD patient, we observed that social and economic conditions, legislation, economic resources and infrastructure at the local level have an undeniable influence on the application of GOLD international recommendations.
The GOLD guide, as well as the internationally recognized and widely followed American Thoracic Society (10) and European Respiratory Society (11) guidelines, recommends pulmonary rehabilitation programs to treat COPD symptoms.
The GOLD guide points out that even though education does not improve patient exercise capacity or pulmonary function, it does enhance patient ability to understand and to take control of disease management (17).