About One in Four Adults at Risk of Physician-Diagnosed COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease risk tied to male gender, rural living, socioeconomic status

FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Lifetime risk of physician-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is 27.6 percent, and is higher among men, rural inhabitants, and those with a lower socioeconomic status, according to a study published Sept. 10 in the special European Respiratory Society issue of The Lancet.

Andrea S Gershon, M.D., from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues estimated the lifetime risk of physician-diagnosed COPD in a multiethnic North American population of about 13 million. Data were collected from health administrative databases. Individuals who did not have COPD in 1996 were followed up for up to 14 years for incidence of three possible outcomes: physician-diagnosed COPD, reaching 80 years of age, or death. Cumulative incidence of physician-diagnosed COPD over a lifetime was determined by modified survival analysis technique, after adjusting for competing risk of death. Results were stratified by gender, socioeconomic status, and rural or urban living environment.

The investigators found that 579,466 individuals had physician-diagnosed COPD over the study period, with a 27.6 percent overall lifetime risk at 80 years of age. COPD lifetime risk was higher in men than in women (29.7 versus 25.6 percent), in those living in a rural versus urban environment (32.4 versus 26.7 percent), and in those in the lowest versus the highest socioeconomic status quintile (32.1 versus 23 percent).

"About one in four individuals are likely to be diagnosed and receive medical attention for COPD during their lifetime," the authors write.

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