RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Nov. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As patients, caregivers and the healthcare community come together in support of World COPD Day (November 19), a GSK global survey of people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sheds new light on the growing burden of COPD in the US. GSK's "Continuing to Confront COPD International Patient Survey" explores changes in COPD prevalence and disease burden, comparing data from the current study with GSK's original "Confronting COPD" survey conducted ten years ago.1,2
COPD is a growing problem in the US and in one decade has risen from the fourth leading cause of death to the third, after heart disease and cancer.3 Data from the survey suggest that COPD prevalence has also increased from a decade ago, from six to seven percent of adults ages 40 years and older.
The burden of COPD on patients and the US healthcare system was also high. Twenty-six percent of US participants reported visiting the emergency room as a result of their COPD, with an additional 17 percent hospitalized within the last year – a statistic similar to that reported in Mexico, and higher than those reported in most European countries surveyed.
The survey also revealed that many patients may be underestimating the severity of their symptoms. While more than half (54 percent) of US participants reported clinically significant dyspnea (shortness of breath), the majority (70 percent) classified their COPD as only mild or moderate in severity, demonstrating a disconnect between the level of symptoms and their own subjective assessment of the disease.
"Given GSK's 40-year heritage in the respiratory disease area, we were keen to follow up on our decade-old landmark study—the first COPD cross-national, population-based survey of its kind—with an update that helps provide insights as to how the disease and its management have evolved over time," said Kourtney Davis, PhD, MSPH, GSK's lead global epidemiologist on the survey.
"From these findings we see that the face of COPD is changing," added Davis. "Traditionally, COPD was considered to be a disease of elderly male smokers, but now, more women than men report having COPD, and about a quarter of patients have never smoked."
In the US, the number of females affected by COPD (7.1 percent), was notably higher than males (6.2 percent). As a result, physicians may want to consider additional evaluation when women present with respiratory symptoms, recurrent respiratory infections, or fatigue, to assess COPD and improve outcomes. The percentage of US participants who were identified as "never-smokers" was 25 percent – giving researchers reason to explore additional risk factors, such as environmental or occupational exposures, and asthma, as well as consider whether symptomatic non-smoking patients need early screening and access to recommended disease management.
View the full eKit on the survey data, including infographics, here.
For helpful information and education tools about COPD from GSK, visit www.COPD.com.
About the "Continuing to Confront COPD International Survey"
The "Continuing to Confront COPD International Survey" is a follow-up to GSK's original survey of the COPD environment conducted more than a decade ago. The two-pronged study surveyed 4,343 patients and 1,307 physicians around the globe to more fully understand the disease and its management. Data from more than 1,000 patients and 200 physicians from the US were collected and results included in a series of manuscripts.
The data was originally published in The International Journal of COPD earlier this year.
COPD is a disease of the lungs that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both. COPD is characterized by obstruction to airflow that interferes with normal breathing.3 The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) estimates that nearly 27 million people in the US alone are affected by COPD.4
According to the NHLBI, long-term exposure to lung irritants that damage the lungs and the airways are usually the cause of COPD. In the United States, the most common irritant that causes COPD is cigarette smoke. Breathing in second hand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes or dust from the environment or workplace also can contribute to COPD. Most people who have COPD are at least 40 years old when symptoms begin.
About World COPD Day
Organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world, World COPD Day aims to raise awareness about COPD and improve COPD care throughout the world.
GSK – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.
GSK Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D 'Risk factors' in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2013.
1 Landis, SH. et al. Continuing to Confront COPD International Patient Survey: methods, COPD prevalence, and disease burden in 2012–2013. International Journal of COPD, June 2014.
2 Rennard, S. et al. Impact of COPD in North America and Europe in 2000: subjects' perspective of Confronting COPD International Survey. Eur Respir J 2002; 20: 799–805.
3 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Take the First Step to Breathing Better. Learn More about COPD. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/what-is-copd/index.htm
4 NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Morbidity & Mortality: 2012 Chart Book on Cardiovascular, Lung and Blood Diseases. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/research/2012_ChartBook_508.pdf.