COPD Tied to Quality of Life

COPD more common among older female smokers and linked to lower health related quality of life

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Though a certain group of lung diseases can often be prevented, the conditions are still common among US adults and may be more so among certain groups, says a new study.

This study examined the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among adults in South Carolina.

The study found that the disease was more common among older women smokers, and that people with COPD were more likely to report a lower health-related quality of life.

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COPD is a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that involve difficulties with breathing and airflow. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco smoke is a key factor in COPD, but other factors like air pollutants, genetics and respiratory infections can be involved.

Led by Samuel Antwi, MPH, of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, this study explored the prevalence of COPD in South Carolina among different groups and connections between COPD and health-related quality of life.

Antwi and colleagues utilized data from the 2011 South Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a randomized phone survey of 12,851 adults. Participants were asked about a variety of demographic factors, education, income and smoking status.

Participants were also asked about their general overall health, history of COPD diagnosis and the number of days during the previous 30 days that their day-to-day lives were limited by physical illness or injury, depression, stress or other factors of mental or physical health.

The researchers estimated that, overall, 7.1 percent of uninstitutionalized adults in South Carolina had a diagnosis of COPD in 2011.

The prevalence of COPD was higher among women, of whom 8.9 percent reported having a diagnosis of the condition.

Adults aged 65 or older also had a higher prevalence (12.9 percent), as did current smokers (15.9 percent). The researchers also saw some associations between COPD and low income and education levels.

"Compared with community-dwelling adults without COPD, those with COPD were more likely to report fair or poor general health status, 14 or more physically unhealthy days, 14 or more mentally unhealthy days, and 14 or more days of activity limitation within the previous 30 days," the authors of this study wrote.

"Future work aimed at reducing risk factors may decrease the disease prevalence, and increasing early detection and improving access to appropriate medical treatments can improve [health-related quality of life] for those living with COPD," concluded Antwi and colleagues.

This study was published December 26 in the CDC's journal Preventing Chronic Diseases. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
December 28, 2013
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013