Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops over many years (sometimes 10 to 30 years) and is most commonly diagnosed in people older than 60. Because of this, COPD generally is considered a disease of older adults. COPD is sometimes called chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD) or chronic airflow obstruction (CAO).
In the United States:1
The disease is more common in:
Men and women are affected equally. Some studies suggest that women are more susceptible than men to the effects of tobacco smoke.3 COPD symptoms develop in at least 10% to 15% of long-term smokers, and some studies indicate that up to 50% of long-term smokers older than age 45 develop COPD.4
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (2009). In Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Available online: http://www.goldcopd.com.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology|
|Last Revised||November 29, 2011|