Introduction: COPD is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. No recent prevalence study has been carried out in Denmark, but it is estimated that approximately 200,000 Danes have COPD. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of COPD in Copenhagen using data from the 4th examination of The Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS from 2001-2004) and to estimate the total number of COPD patients in Denmark.
Materials and methods: 6,238 people participated in the 4th examination of CCHS. We selected all participants aged 35 years or older with adequate information regarding smoking habits and lung function for the final prevalence analyses (n = 4,908). COPD staging was done according to the GOLD and ERS/ATS criteria. We received information regarding the Danish population from The National Bureau of Statistics Denmark.
Results: The prevalence of COPD in the 4th CCHS increased with age and was higher among males than females. The total number of Danes with COPD is estimated to 430,000, 270,000 of whom have clinically important COPD (GOLD 2-4) and 40,000 have severe COPD (GOLD 3-4).
Conclusion: The prevalence of COPD in Denmark is higher than previously anticipated. The 40,000 patients with severe COPD are in immediate need of relevant medical treatment and rehabilitation. Danish society also needs to exert a substantial effort comprising early detection, prophylaxis and relevant treatment for the 230,000 persons with moderate COPD in order to prevent disease progression.