Twenty Percent of Copd Cases Go Undetected
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Twenty Percent of Copd Cases Go Undetected

COPD is the acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The disease is a degenerative (worsens) chronic lung disease for which there is no known cure at this time.

COPD is a disease that we have been hearing a lot about lately, but what is it? COPD is the acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The disease is a degenerative (worsens) chronic lung disease for which there is no known cure at this time. COPD is the new name for two older conditions known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is usually the result of smoking and the most noticeable symptoms are shortness of breath and coughing.

Unfortunately as much as 20 percent of Canadians who have this disease have not been diagnosed according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association three weeks ago.

Many people suffering from this disease do not go for treatment, thinking that the wheezing and coughing are signs of asthma, a lung infection that will go away, or part of the aging process.

The study was conducted on 1,003 current or former smokers (80 – 90 percent of COPD is linked to smoking) over the age of 40, and had recently visited a doctor in the Toronto, Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie area. These individuals smoked at least a package of cigarettes a day for roughly 20 years.

The patients were given a spirometry test, which is a lung function test where patients blow into an instrument that measures the airflow going to and coming from the lungs. One out of five patients had COPD and at least 70 percent of these people never knew they had it. This is the case even though 3 quarters of the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had the symptoms; shortness of breath, chronic cough, or frequent colds.

The researchers were surprised that these patients had never been diagnosed with COPD since they were over 40 (the usual age of onset for the disease) and they were smokers exhibiting the symptoms.

Doctors should be looking at this age group with a smoking history more carefully. Early detection can prolong lives and ultimately save the health system a lot of money.

COPD cannot be cured at this time, but the disease can be halted in its tracks. Many smokers are given a wake up call when they find out they have the disease and stop smoking.

COPD sufferers can be helped with medication, puffers, and oxygen treatments.

Montrealers suffering from COPD or other lung ailments can obtain information and or treatment through the:

Montreal Chest Institute Lung Program




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Comments (2)

Great information. Hopefully more people will be informed and get the help they need.

thanks Rae, let's hope so