Study: COPD epidemic looms

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 9, November 2016, Pages 523-524 News

Despite a decline in smoking rates, an epidemic of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is expected over the next 2 decades, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

To predict future rates of COPD disease, researchers at UBC conducted forecasting analyses, combining population statistics and health data for BC, and concluded that between 2010 and 2030 the number of COPD cases in the province will increase by more than 150%—despite decreased rates of smoking. Among seniors over 75 years of age, the number of cases will increase by 220%. Researchers expect the BC-based predictions to be applicable to Canada and other industrialized countries.

Senior author Dr Mohsen Sadatsafavi, assistant professor in the Faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine, identified that people think COPD will soon be a problem of the past because smoking is declining in the industrialized world. But aging is playing a much bigger role and that factor is often ignored. Lead author Amir Khakban, health economist in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC and the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, notes that age-adjusted COPD rates have remained constant as smoking rates have declined.

Researchers suggest that COPD will overtake all other diseases of aging over the coming decades, and the associated health care costs of caring for these patients will be significant. The study predicts that annual inpatient days related to COPD will grow by 185%.

The UBC team is focusing on driving research and innovation to change this trajectory with therapeutic and biomarker solutions that prevent and treat COPD.

The study, “The projected epidemic of COPD hospitalizations over the next 15 years: A population based perspective,” is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

. Study: COPD epidemic looms. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 9, November, 2016, Page(s) 523-524 - News.

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