The number of people dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has climbed nearly 12 percent over a 15-year period, an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 has found.
According to the study, published by The Lancet, 3.2 million people died in 2015 from COPD, a group of lung conditions includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, marking an 11.6 percent rise on the death toll in 1990.
However, the researchers noted that there was actually a decrease in the condition’s age-standardised death rate of 41.9 percent, but that this was counteracted by population growth and ageing of the global population.
Along similar lines, the prevalence of COPD increased by 44.2 percent over the period, whereas age-standardised prevalence decreased by 14.7 percent.
The main risk factors for COPD identified were smoking and ambient particulate matter, followed by household air pollution, occupational particulates, ozone, and secondhand smoke.
The analysis also looked at asthma, and determined that 400,000 people died from the disease in 2015, marking a decrease of 26.7 percent from 1990, while the age-standardised death rate dropped 58·8 percent. The prevalence of asthma increased by 12.6 percent, whereas the age-standardised prevalence decreased by 17.7 percent.
The researchers concluded that asthma was the most prevalent chronic respiratory disease worldwide in 2015, with twice the number of cases of COPD, but that deaths from COPD were eight times more common.
“COPD and asthma are important contributors to the burden of non-communicable disease. Although much of the burden is either preventable or treatable with affordable interventions, these diseases have received less attention than other prominent non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes,” they note.
“We call for greater standardisation in data collection with regard to case definition and severity distributions of all non-communicable diseases in general, and of asthma and COPD in particular. More, and updated, population measurements of COPD and asthma are needed to better quantify the size of the problem, to benchmark with other chronic conditions associated with smoking and ageing, and with any other environmental and air pollution exposures.”