Within two decades COPD epidemic could strain health care systems
According to a new UBC study, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) will become an epidemic over the next two decades despite a decline in smoking rates.
COPD is a progressive disease associated with smoking, air pollution and age.
Researchers have concluded, the number of COPD cases will increase by more than 150 percent between 2010 and 20130, in the province. COPD rates will be more than triple hiking up by 220 percent, even surprising the researchers.
“Everyone who has seen the results has been surprised,” said senior author Dr. Mohsen Sadatsafavi, assistant professor in the faculties of pharmaceutical sciences and medicine. “Many people think that COPD will soon be a problem of the past, because smoking is declining in the industrialized world. But aging is playing a much bigger role, and this is often ignored. We expect these B.C.-based predictions to be applicable to Canada and many other industrialized countries.”
Researchers say COPD will overtake all other age related diseases even though they are also expected to increase over the next decades. The study foresees annual inpatients days related to COPD to increase by 185 percent.
Co-author Dr. Don Sin, professor in UBC department of medicine’s division of respiratory medicine and head of respiratory medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital said this situation is a burden the health-care system is not equipped to handle. “Our only hope of changing this trajectory is to find new therapeutic and biomarker solutions to prevent and treat COPD, and this can only happen through research and innovation,” said Sin. “Our UBC team is poised to make these breakthroughs.”