Low diagnosis rate for COPD negatively affects patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Today (Wednesday 18 November) is World COPD Day 2020. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of respiratory diseases that hinder airflow cause breathing difficulties and there is currently no cure.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the current challenges of diagnosing COPD and its implication during the pandemic:

“GlobalData forecasts that the burden of diagnosed and undiagnosed COPD is expected to increase in the seven major markets (7MM*) from approximately 60 million in 2020 to over 67 million by 2028. This is equivalent to one out of ten people ages 35 years and older having COPD in the 7MM, but nearly 50% of those with the disease are undiagnosed. The growing number of cases means better disease awareness will be critical to increasing diagnosis and providing treatment early on to slowdown diseases progression, particularly during the pandemic.

“This is a public health problem because untreated patients will experience frequent negative effects, which usually lead to more hospital visits, overnight hospital stays, increased risk of death, poor quality of life, as well as co-occurring illnesses, especially in elderly patients. These negative outcomes are amplified during the pandemic as COPD is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness.

“Studies have shown that as many as 9% of symptomatic COVID-19 patients had COPD. A study using data from the Cleveland Clinic COVID-19 registry found that COVID-19 positive symptomatic patients with COPD were 1.36 times more likely to require hospitalization, 1.20 more likely to be admitted to the ICU and 1.49 times more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation than non-COPD COVID-19 positive patients. Therefore, ensuring early diagnosis and treatment is important as it will lead to reducing the burden on healthcare systems at a time when they are at risk of being overwhelmed.”

*7MM: The US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Japan

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