Substantial need for early diagnosis, rehabilitation and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Dan Med J. 2012 Apr;59(4):A4396.


Introduction: Our goal was to estimate the number of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the Capital Region of Denmark and the need of resources required to implement the regional management programme for COPD.

Material and methods: We examined a total of 45,970 participants from the Copenhagen General Population Study (CGPS) using spirometry and a questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of spirometrically defined COPD among individuals older than 40 years of age was 15%, corresponding to 120,000 citizens in the Region. The number of individuals with moderate COPD (forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1): 50-80% of predicted value) was estimated to approx. 51,000 (6.4%), whereas at least 10,000 (1.3%) were expected to have severe or very severe COPD (FEV1 < 50% of predicted value). Our estimates indicate that more than 26,000 individuals with moderate, severe or very severe COPD in the Region are smokers and that more than 19,000 qualify for physical training. We estimated that approx. 4,000 individuals with severe COPD were not treated with any inhaled medication.

Conclusion: The Capital Region of Denmark needs to allocate substantial resources into early detection, rehabilitation and medical treatment of individuals with COPD in order to comply with the intentions of the Region's own management programme for COPD.

Funding: The present analyses were sponsored by a grant from the Danish Ministry of Health. The CGPS was supported by the Copenhagen County Foundation, the Danish Medical Research Council and the Boserup Foundation.

Trial registration: not relevant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Registries
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Vital Capacity