COPD Rates May Rise as Population Ages
Researchers Say Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Will Become 3rd or 4th Leading Cause of Death
COPD Around the World continued...
The lowest incidence of moderate to severe disease in the study among the
elderly was 19.2% in the U.S. The highest rate was 46.6% in the
Mannino tells WebMD that as high as these figures are, they may not reflect
the true burden of COPD.
"The figures may not include the oldest and sickest patients, so there
may be more disease out there than we were able to measure," he says.
Mannino acknowledges that the new prevalence estimates paint a grim picture
of the future in terms of COPD burden. But he says much has been learned about
the disease over the past few years that can help patients.
There is a growing recognition that COPD affects organs other than the
lungs, and many clinicians are taking a more holistic approach to its treatment
than they have in the past.
"An important intervention for early COPD other than smoking cessation
is to put patients on [cholesterol-lowering] statins if they need them, because
most patients with early disease die of cardiovascular causes than of
respiratory disease," Mannino says. "Exercise is also important. From
my perspective, maintaining an active lifestyle may be the best intervention of