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One in 10 Adults Worldwide Has Obstructive Lung Disease

Worldwide burden of disease higher than previously thought

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The worldwide prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is higher than previously reported, and although smoking and age are strong risk factors, they do not fully explain disease prevalence, researchers report in the Sept. 1 issue of The Lancet.

A. Sonia Buist, M.D., of Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, and colleagues used population-based sampling techniques to recruit 9,425 participants from 12 international sites as part of the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Initiative. Participants were interviewed about risk factors and underwent pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry to assess lung function.

The prevalence of stage II or higher COPD was 10.1 percent overall (11.8 percent in men, and 8.5 percent in women). Disease prevalence increased with age and with pack-years smoked. However, the prevalence among participants who had never smoked was similar to smokers with 0 to 10 pack-years of exposure.

"Although smoking cessation is becoming an increasingly urgent objective for an aging worldwide population, a better understanding of other factors that contribute to COPD is crucial to assist local public-health officials in developing the best possible primary and secondary prevention policies for their regions," the authors conclude.

This study was partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, ALTANA, Novartis, Merck, Chiesi, Schering Plough, and Sepracor.

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