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Friday 21st October 2016

Rise in lung disease

31st August 2007

A study across 12 countries has revealed that rates of incurable lung disease are higher than was previously thought.

Almost 9,500 adults aged over 40 were tested and one in 10 found to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Researchers writing in The Lancet say they fear rates are set to rise further as a consequence of an ageing population.

COPD covers a range of conditions from chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is currently the fifth main cause of death worldwide but experts predict that by 2020 it will become the third biggest killer. In the UK there are believed to be two million undiagnosed cases of COPD.

The study of 12 countries was carried out by researchers from Oregon Health and Science University who carried out spirometry tests to measure breathing in individuals. They found 11.8% of men and 8.5% of women had moderate or higher stage COPD, higher than previously reported. The difference in rates between men and women is put down to smoking being a major factor.

However, with evidence of prevalence of COPD in individuals who had never smoked, researchers said there was a question over genetic susceptibility.

Lead researcher Dr Sonia Buist said: “This worldwide study showed higher levels and more advanced staging of spirometrically confirmed COPD than have typically been reported.?

Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said: “There are people with COPD who have never smoked and this research shows that deprivation, dust exposure and lung development in the womb play a vital role in causing the disease.?


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