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Chronic lung disease remains major public medical condition, especially in less developed countries

lung scan
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Globally, chronic lung disease (COPD) accounted for over 212 million cases, 3 million deaths, and 74 million years lost to ill health or disability in 2019, finds an analysis of the most recent data from over 200 countries and regions in The BMJ today.

The findings show that while age-adjusted rates of COPD have declined in the last three decades, absolute counts are increasing, with smoking and polluting of the environment contributing to the majority of the health burden, especially among men.

Sufficient reason for aging populations, COPD will continue steadily to become a much greater problem in the foreseeable future, warn the researchers.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be the name for several common lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. It mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke or have a smoking history, and even though preventable, once established, it can’t be cured.

But previous estimates of COPD have already been limited by specific risk factors or confined to local areas and today require updating.

So researchers used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 to update estimates of prevalence (cases), deaths and disability adjusted life years (DALYs)a combined way of measuring quantity and quality of lifedue to COPD for 204 countries and territories between 1990 and 2019.

Because of this study, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) definition of COPD was used.

Data were assessed by age, sex and sociodemographic indexa measure that identifies where countries or regions take a seat on the spectral range of development, which range from 0 (least developed) to at least one 1 (most developed).

Their results show that in 2019, COPD accounted for 212.3 million cases, 3.3 million deaths and 74.4 million DALYs globally.

When ranked in accordance with age (age standardized), cases, deaths and DALY rates were 2,638, 42.5 and 926 per 100,000 population; 8.7%, 41.7% and 39.8% less than in 1990, respectively.

In 2019, Denmark, Myanmar, and Belgium had the best age standardized COPD cases, while Egypt, Georgia, and Nicaragua showed the biggest increases in age standardized cases over the study period.

In 2019, Nepal and Japan had the best and lowest age standardized death rates per 100,000, respectively, and Nepal and Barbados had the best and lowest age standardized DALY rates per 100,000, respectively.

In men, the global DALY rate of COPD increased around age 85-89 years, and decreased with advancing age, whereas for women the rate increased around the oldest generation (95 and over).

Smoking was the best risk factor for disability because of COPD, adding to 46% of DALYs, accompanied by pollution from ambient particulate matter (21%) and occupational exposure particulate matter, gases and fumes (16%).

At the united states level, in 2019, the responsibility of COPD increased with increasing socioeconomic development up to sociodemographic index around 0.4, before decreasing again.

One possible reason behind that is that contact with (the best reason behind lung disease) keeps growing for countries with a lesser sociodemographic index and decreasing for countries with an increased sociodemographic index, say the researchers.

They indicate some study limitations. For instance, only a few top quality epidemiological databases were open to estimate the responsibility of COPD, although some risk factors, such as for example genetic predispositionalthough rarecould not be studied into consideration. Differences in disease definitions and a higher possibility of COPD underdiagnosis in lots of countries could have also affected the outcomes.

These limitations highlight the significance in improving the accuracy of data collection and the usage of more integrated case definitions, which may make comparisons between countries more valid, note the authors.

Nevertheless, they state this study provides up-to-date and comprehensive estimates of the levels and trends connected with COPD and its own risk factors at the global, regional and national levels, between 1990 and 2019.

They conclude, “Regardless of the decreasing burden of COPD, this disease remains a significant public medical condition, especially in countries with a minimal sociodemographic index. Preventive programs should concentrate on cessation, improving quality of air, and reducing occupational exposures to help expand decrease the burden of COPD.”

More info: Burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and its own attributable risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, The BMJ (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2021-069679

Citation: Chronic lung disease remains major public medical condition, especially in less developed countries (2022, July 27) retrieved 28 July 2022 from

This document is at the mercy of copyright. Aside from any fair dealing for the intended purpose of private study or research, no part could be reproduced minus the written permission. This content is provided for information purposes only.

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