-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- People are at much higher
risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
than previously thought, according to a new study.
Canadian researchers found that one out of every four people 35
and older is likely to develop COPD, which they called "one of the
most deadly, prevalent and costly chronic diseases." COPD includes
emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and the overall risk for
developing it surpasses that of heart failure as well as breast and
"Our novel findings draw attention to the huge burden of COPD on society... and can be used to combat the disease [and] justify the continuation of smoking cessation programs," the study's authors wrote in a news release from The Lancet, which published the results in a special European Respiratory Society issue.
The researchers, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative
Sciences in Toronto, used health data on 13 million people ranging
in age from 35 to 80 years old to determine the lifetime risk of
developing the condition. Over the course of 14 years, 579,466
cases of COPD were diagnosed.
The research found that the average 35-year-old woman is more
than three times as likely to get COPD than breast cancer during
her lifetime, and the average 35-year-old man is at more than three
times greater risk for COPD than prostate cancer.
The study also pointed out that males, people living in rural
areas or those with lower socioeconomic status have a greater risk
of developing COPD over their lifetimes.
Meanwhile, a separate study in the same journal issue revealed
that airway bypass, an experimental and minimally-invasive
procedure, does not alleviate the symptoms of severe emphysema,
which causes the destruction and hyperinflation of the lungs,
making it difficult for people to breathe and perform daily
activities such as eating, bathing, and walking.
Even though earlier studies had shown the airway bypass reduced
lung inflation and shortness of breath one day after the procedure,
the latest analysis of 315 patients followed for one year found no
such positive effects after one month or at six months
post-procedure. In addition, the patients received no more benefit
than the control group patients who underwent a sham procedure.
The London researchers on the trial, known as EASE (Exhale
Airway Stents for Emphysema), said that the disappointing results
were due to a combination of factors, including mucus
The National Emphysema/COPD Association provides more
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