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.