According to the first comprehensive estimate of lifetime risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) published in a special European Respiratory Society issue of The Lancet, one out of four individuals aged 35 and over are likely to develop COPD at some stage of their lives. The discoveries indicate that people have a much higher risk of developing COPD than congestive heart failure, acute heart attack, and several common cancers.
The results suggest that at some stage of their life, the average woman at 35 years of age is over three times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to breast cancer, and for the average 35 year old man the risk of developing COPD is three times higher than prostate cancer.
By 2030 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is estimated to be the third most common cause of death worldwide, a leading cause of hospitalizations, as well as being one of the most expensive chronic diseases. However, in comparison to diseases, such as diabetes, there is little public awareness of COPD and the funding, research and profile is not the same as other diseases with a similar burden.
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