Chronic lung disease common in older adults
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death globally, and one of every four men and one of every six women will develop COPD if they live to be 95 years old.
Those are the latest findings of the ongoing, population-based Rotterdam Study, presented here this week at the 18th Annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society.
COPD is primarily cause by two principal diseases, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both of which are strongly linked to smoking. A primary symptom is the difficulty and ultimately inability to move air through the lungs. The symptoms are severely disabling and have life-threatening complications. An estimated 12 million people in the United States have COPD.
Dr. Guy Brusselle of Ghent University Hospital, Belgium presented his team’s findings, based on data collected from 7983 participants living in the region around Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The subjects were 55 years of age or older when the study began and were followed for roughly 16 years.
During the study, 648 patients were diagnosed with COPD. The rate was higher in men than in women, and higher in smokers than in non-smokers, said Brusselle.
Men without symptoms of COPD at age 55 years had a risk of developing COPD over the next 10 years of 4 percent, and over the following 20, 30 and 40 years the risk of 10, 18 and 24 percent, respectively.
For a 55-year-old woman, the risk of COPD over the next 10, 20, 30 and 40 years was 3, 8, 13 and 16 percent, respectively.
The 60 percent higher risk of developing COPD in men than women is “partly due to the historically higher tobacco consumption in males than females,” he noted. The risk of developing COPD was nearly four times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers.
By Martha Kerr
BERLIN (Reuters Health)
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