COPD Patients At Greater Heart Disease Risk

Cardiovascular disease more likely for COPD patients with reduced lung function

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Not all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are at the same risk. A recent study has found that COPD patients with reduced lung function are more likely to develop heart disease.

The findings suggest that COPD patients with reduced lung function should receive regular screenings for cardiovascular disease because of their increased risk.

"If you have lingering nasal symptoms, follow up with a doctor."

Dr. Anne Lindberg from the Sunderby Hospital in Sweden said that the discovery sheds light on the links between nasal symptoms and cardiovascular conditions in relation to COPD patients with restrictive lung function. She said that in addition to raising awareness of other conditions that can co-exist with COPD, it will be important to study the effect secondary conditions such as heart disease have on the progression of COPD.

Though it is common for COPD patients to also suffer from heart conditions, they can go unrecognized because many of the symptoms overlap. A diagnosis of COPD can easily remain unsuspected in those with diagnosed heart disease. It is important to diagnose both since it can lead to a worse outcome for patients.

Researchers collected data on nasal symptoms and cardiovascular disease from 993 patients with COPD and 993 without COPD. Patients in the second group were divided into categories including those with normal lung function and those with restricted lung function.

They found that 50 percent of COPD patients had cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease, stroke and hypertension as compared to 41 percent of those with normal lung function.

Nasal symptoms were found to be common in patients with COPD and heart disease as compared to those with those with normal lung function. It was discovered that 53 percent of patients with both COPD and heart disease had nasal symptoms as compared to 36 percent who had normal lung function and heart disease.

Of the patients with both restricted lung function and heart disease, 62 percent had nasal symptoms, demonstrating that the symptom could be a potential marker for identifying an increased risk of COPD and heart disease in those not yet diagnosed with either condition.

Professor Marc Decramer, president of the European Respiratory Society, said that clinicians often forget that people with one chronic condition usually have another illness at the same time, many of which share similar traits such as COPD and heart disease. He called it vital to build on the study and identify additional therapeutic targets.

The findings were presented on Sept. 26 at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 30, 2011
Last Updated:
October 2, 2011