Could MLs ease COPD burden?

New data on COPD prevalence show a rate of COPD stage II or higher among 6.9% of men and 8.1% of women, with females now falling in the mid-range of burden of disease internationally, while men are in the low range.

Among people aged 75years or older the rate was 29.2%.

COPD stage II is based on the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) criteria of FEV1 >50–80% predicted.

The study was based on data from 3000 people aged 40 or older in six locations chosen as representative of Australia’s diversity, including rural and Indigenous populations.

Researchers used spirometry test results, finding many participants meeting COPD criteria had not previously been diagnosed.

In an accompanying editorial, respiratory physician Professor Christine McDonald, from Melbourne, and Professor Nicholas Glasgow, Dean of Medicine at the Australian National University, said “bold actions” were

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