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  • Lifetime Risk of Developing COPD 1 in 4, Says Canadian-based Study

    More than 1 in 4 people are likely to be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and receive treatment for the condition in their lifetime, according to a population-based Canadian study published in The Lancet.

    Lead author Andrea Gershon, MD, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a retrospective longitudinal cohort study using several types of health administrative data from the province of Ontario, which has a total population of about 13 million people. Beginning in 1996, all individuals who were then free of COPD were tracked for as long as 14 years and categorized by 3 outcomes—diagnosis of COPD by a physician, attainment of 80 years of age, or death. COPD was identified with a previously validated case definition based on COPD health services claims.  

    The results show a total of 579,466 people were diagnosed with COPD by a physician over the study period. The overall lifetime risk of physician-diagnosed COPD at age 80 years was 27.6%. Lifetime risk was higher in men than in women (29.7% vs 25.6%), people of lower socioeconomic status than in those of higher socioeconomic status (32.1% vs 23.0%), and residents of rural settings than in those who lived in urban areas (32.4% vs 26.7%).

    According to a Medscape Medical News  article, the authors emphasize that the lifetime risk for COPD was similar to or higher than the risk for other physician-diagnosed diseases that draw more public interest. Specifically, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with COPD was about twice that of being diagnosed with congestive heart failure (29.7% vs 16.6% in men; and 25.6% vs 11.5% in women). It also was 3 to 4 times greater than acute myocardial infarction (29.7% vs 10.7% in men; 25.6% vs 4.6% in women), breast cancer (25.6% vs 7.6%), and prostate cancer (29.7% vs 9.3%). COPD was diagnosed 7 times more often than other types of cancers, the article says.


    • So much of the COPD "diagnosis" I see reflected in patients charts is based solely on a radiological interpretation of chest X rays without actual pulmonary function test or other clinical measures. We need to find a better way of describing the radiological findings we now label "COPD".

      Posted by Toni Lee on 9/14/2011 10:36 AM

    • I was diagnosed as having COPD last fall after a lung x-ray. Seeing a pulmonologist and having a pulmonary lung function test proved I did not have COPD. And that I didn' t have asthma and my lungs were normal.

      Posted by Gretchen on 9/16/2011 6:37 PM

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