Prevalence of COPD
COPD develops gradually over many years and usually is symptomatic, from middle age, (commonly the 5th decade) onwards, when the diagnosis is usually made.
While it is present in 18% of male smokers in the UK, it is present in 14% of female smokers and is a significant reason for hospital admissions and lost working days.
It is one of the greatest causes of death in the world, being the 4th leading cause of death in the USA, was 4th in the year 2000 global mortality table and is currently rated 6th leading cause of death in the UK.
"Fifty percent of patients with severe breathlessness due to COPD die within 5 years."
"At least 25,000 people die each year in the UK from the end stages of COPD."
"A recent American Lung Association survey revealed that 51% of all COPD patients say that their condition limits their ability to work. 70% are limited in normal physical exertion, 56% in household chores, 53% in social activities, 50% in sleeping and 46% in family activities."
The statistics are gradually changing as smoking is decreasing in wealthy countries and increasing in poorer countries and as more women are smoking and at an early age.