Introduction: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represents a serious global health issue that is commonly associated with cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD). The close relationship between COPD and CVD could be explained by different factors, first and foremost a chronic low-grade systemic inflammation implicated in the pathogenesis of both diseases and several stimuli enhancing the inflammatory processes and causing a mixed condition with worse outcomes than either disorder alone. Areas covered: The present narrative review considers the mechanisms underlying the increased CV risk in COPD, and it provides insights on biomarkers and predictive models to predict CVD in COPD patients. Expert opinion: COPD patients often remain asymptomatic of CVD, with respiratory symptoms generally attributed to the preexisting pulmonary disease. It is fundamental to understand the mechanistic pathways that underpin the intimate relationship between the two disorders. However, it is still not clear what is the origin of the common background of low-grade systemic inflammation, it could be a ‘spillover’ or a general inflammatory state. Primary prevention, cross-collaboration between specialists and early detection via predictive biomarkers and validated models are fundamental to stratify COPD patients according to CV risk.
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