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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Under-Diagnosed

Cigarette smokers more affected, but they do not seem more inclined to quit

FRIDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of adults who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease smoke cigarettes, but they do not show a greater motivation to quit than other smokers, U.K. researchers report in the December issue of Thorax.

Lion Shahab, M.Sc., of University College London, U.K., and colleagues studied data on smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other factors in 8,215 British health survey participants over age 35.

Using spirometry results, the researchers determined that 13.3 percent of participants had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but four out of five patients said it was undiagnosed. Fewer than half (46.8 percent) of those with very severe or severe disease reported receiving a diagnosis or respiratory disease.

Roughly one-third (34.9 percent) of those with the disease smoked cigarettes, versus 22.4 percent of those without the disease. Disease incidence increased with smoking prevalence. Smokers with lung disease were more cigarette dependent but showed no greater wish to quit than other smokers.

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is common among adults in England and is predominantly undiagnosed," the authors write. "In smokers it is associated with higher degrees of cigarette dependence but not with greater motivation to stop smoking."

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