Introduction: There is a paucity of population-based data on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prevalence in Poland. To address this problem we participated in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Initiative which was developed to provide standardized methods for estimating the prevalence of COPD and its risk factors.
Objectives: The study aimed to assess the prevalence of COPD and some of its risk factors in adults aged 40 years and older in the Malopolska region in southern Poland.
Patients and methods: Region--representative sample was drawn, basing on the current census data. Detailed BOLD questionnaires as well as pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry were applied to eligible individuals.
Results: Six hundred and three subjects provided questionnaire and spirometry data; of those 526 provided spirometry data of appropriate quality and were included in the final analysis. Estimated population prevalence of COPD was 22.1%, whereas 10.9% had COPD in GOLD Stage > or = 2. COPD was far more common in men and its prevalence increased with age and exposure to tobacco smoke, and was inversely related to education level. The prevalence of current tobacco smoking was 28% (34% and 22% in men and women, respectively). Seventy-nine percent of men and 42% of women were ever-smokers. Twenty-nine percent of never smoking individuals were passively exposed to tobacco smoke in their households.
Conclusions: Our results confirm the high prevalence of COPD in the studied region of Poland and emphasize the need to increase efforts to improve COPD awareness and limit tobacco smoking habit.